Countries need to fight pandemic, not each other
The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed untold suffering on humanity and this is the time for the world community to unite in total solidarity against the unknown enemy. It should be remembered that the virus has no soft corner for any individual and is waiting to strike every human being without any discrimination at any time of its choosing, unless necessary precautions and preventive measures are taken. The unanimous adoption of UN resolution 2532 (2020) by the 15-member peace and security body demanding a general and immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations is a welcome and positive development. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had first appealed for a global ceasefire on March 23. The Security Council has echoed that call for a worldwide ceasefire to combat the coronavirus pandemic that has already claimed more than half a million lives. The unprecedented extent of the novel coronavirus pandemic is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, as the resolution points out. It could also set back peace building and development gains in countries emerging from conflict. The fact that the two-page resolution – drafted by France and Tunisia – was adopted unanimously 111 days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic, strengthens the hope that the world stands more united than before.
Christoph Heusgen, Germany’s Permanent Representative to the UN, is right in stating that ‘It is a very strong signal of unity (within) the Council and a sign of hope that we send from the Security Council out into the world.’ Global solidarity holds the key. The United Nations’ 13 peacekeeping missions need to support the host country’s efforts to contain the deadly coronavirus. All parties to armed conflicts should heed the Council’s call to immediately engage in a durable humanitarian pause of at least 90 days, to enable the safe, unhindered and sustained delivery of lifesaving aid.