On April 3rd, ten days after his first call to put down arms, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres renews his appeal for a global ceasefire. The ceasefire is essential to “reinforce diplomatic action, help create conditions for the delivery of life-saving aid, and bring hope to places that are among the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Guterres says. All actors should join forces to fight the one shared battle of the world today: the one against COVID-19.
Since his first call, there have been some positive signals showing that the appeal has been resonating across the world: it has been endorsed by some 70 Member States, along with regional partners, non-state actors, civil society networks and organizations.
Religious leaders, including Pope Francis, have expressed their support for the global ceasefire, and so have more than 1 million private citizens, who signed a petition in support of the Secretary General’s message on Avaaz.
Many parties in different conflicts have expressed acceptance for the call, too. As of today, these countries are: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Libya, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.
However, as Mr. Guterres noted, “There is a huge distance between declarations and deeds.” In some countries fighting not only has not stopped, but has even intensified. In those areas, which include Yemen, Libya and Afghanistan, Special Representatives and Special Envoys are engaging with conflict actors to help move towards ceasefires on the ground with full support from Headquarters.
Guterres also appealed to all countries and parties who have the power to influence combatants: “I call on all those that can make a difference to make that difference: to urge and pressure combatants around the world to put down their arms.”
To battle COVID-19, Guterres concluded, we “need to do everything possible to find the peace and unity our world so desperately needs.”