UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called today for an immediate cease-fire in conflicts around the world to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
The UN chief said: “It is time to put armed conflict on lock-down and focus together on the true fight of our lives.”
Guterres said the world faces “a common enemy — Covid-19” which doesn’t care “about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith.”
He said people caught in armed conflicts, which are raging around the world, are among the most vulnerable and “are also at the highest risk of suffering devastating losses from Covid-19.”
It’s time to silence guns, stop artillery, end airstrikes and create corridors for life-saving aid and diplomacy, he said.
Guterres spoke as the Syrian conflict has entered its 10th year, the conflict in Yemen is in its fifth year and Libya's rival governments have been fighting for nearly a year. Africa also faces unrest from Somalia and South Sudan to Congo, Mali and Burkina Faso.
Guterres urged warring parties to “put aside mistrust and animosity” and take inspiration from efforts to get rivals to tackle the coronavirus together, but he stressed that much more was needed.
“End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world,” the secretary-general said. “It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now. That is what our human family needs, now more than ever.”