The United Nations General Assembly has called for a worldwide ceasefire and collaboration as a means of defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement released to mark the celebration of the International Day of Living Together in Peace, celebrated every May 16 since 2017, the president of the assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, called for the world to “silence the guns and bring hope to those who are most vulnerable”.
The international day was introduced to encourage peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding, and solidarity across all countries.
“Each year on this day, we reaffirm our commitment to international cooperation as our approach to solving challenges of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all,” Muhammad-Bande said.
“Today, we are facing the most challenging crisis since the Second World War. COVID-19 poses a serious threat to the maintenance of international peace and security – potentially leading to an increase in social unrest and violence that would undermine our ability to fight the disease.”
He added that over 100 UN member-states, diverse regional organisations, religious leaders, and more than 200 civil society organisations have so far endorsed the call for a ceasefire.
“The challenges we are facing today are huge. They require international solidarity,” he continued.
“The international community must come together and act as one. We must coherently execute action to deliver our mandates – maintaining peace through our 95.000 peacekeepers deployed around the world.
“We must ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches more than 110 million people in 57 countries. We must continue to develop new strategies to sustain peace and follow through on those already in place. The world is watching and counting on us to deliver and show leadership.”
The UN General Assembly president called on member-states who have yet to endorse the campaign to do so in order to protect the most vulnerable people, especially women and children disproportionately affected by armed conflict.
“We must act – urgently and collectively – to build a future for all of us where we can live together in peace,” he concluded.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which broke out in December in Wuhan, China, has so far led to the infection of over 4.6 million people across the world and has killed over 310,000 as of Saturday.