The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, demanded on Monday a “world ceasefire” that stops all wars to help deal with the coronavirus.
“Our world faces a common enemy: COVID-19,” Guterres defended in a virtual press conference, in which he stressed that it is time to stop all conflicts to focus on “the true fight of our lives.”
The head of the United Nations warned that countries affected by wars, with destroyed health systems and with many displaced persons and refugees, are especially vulnerable to the virus.
“Cease hostilities. Put aside mistrust and animosity. Silence the weapons, stop the artillery, end the airstrikes. It is crucial that they do so,” Guterres insisted to all parties involved in armed conflict.
The pause in the fighting, he said, will help create corridors to provide vital aid, open opportunities for diplomacy and allow “hope to be brought to the most vulnerable places for COVID-19.”
“We need to end the evil of war and fight the disease that is devastating our world. And this begins by ending fighting everywhere. Now,” he stressed.
Guterres explained that his special envoys for the various conflicts are working with all sides to try to stop the fight and ensure that this appeal translates into results.
“Let’s not forget that conflict-ravaged areas are areas where response capacity is very limited and, if fighting continues, we can have a devastating spread of the epidemic,” he said.
As he stressed, this global truce is “absolutely essential” to achieve an effective response against COVID-19, but it also has value in itself.
“Wars don’t make any sense when we have an epidemic, but they don’t make any sense in other circumstances either,” he said.