UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged has called for immediate ceasefire in all parts of the world in support of the bigger battle against coronavirus – COVID-19.
He described COVID-19 as “the common enemy that is now threatening all of humankind.”
“The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war”, he said. “That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world. It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.”
The UN chief appealed to all warring parties to pull back from hostilities, put aside mistrust and animosity, and “silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes”.
This is crucial, he said, “to help create corridors for life-saving aid. To open precious windows for diplomacy. To bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19, has infected nearly 300,000 people worldwide, and killed more than 12,700 deaths.
To warring parties: Pull back from hostilities. Silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes.— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) March 23, 2020
This is crucial to help create corridors for life-saving aid, open windows for diplomacy & bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to #COVID19 – @antonioguterres
Mr Guterres pointed out that coronavirus – COVID-19 does not care about nationality or ethnicity, or other differences between people, and “attacks all, relentlessly”, including during wartime.
It is the most vulnerable – women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized, displaced and refugees – who pay the highest price during conflict and who are most at risk of suffering “devastating losses” from the disease.
Furthermore, health systems in war-ravaged countries have often reached the point of total collapse, while the few health workers who remain are also seen as targets.
“End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world”, the UN chief appealed. “It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now. That is what our human family needs, now more than ever.”
Mr Guterres told reporters in UN that his Special Envoys will work with warring parties to make sure the cease-fire appeal leads to action.