One month ago, UN Secretary-General António Guterres appealed to warring parties across the globe to undertake an immediate ceasefire to tackle a common enemy – Covid-19.
ʻWe are encouraged by the response to the Secretary-General’s call of many parties to conflict in halting acts of violence, including in conflict areas where Norway is engaged in peace efforts such as Colombia, the Philippines and Sudan. These commitments must continue to result in tangible de-escalation of violence, and enhanced humanitarian access,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
The Secretary-General’s appeal for a global ceasefire has even greater relevance today than it did a month ago. As the pandemic continues to spread, the need to limit deadly conflicts and allow access to humanitarian relief is more important than ever – and must be respected by all parties. Ongoing conflicts impede humanitarian responses and prevent assistance from reaching those who are the most vulnerable.
ʻNorway reiterates its support for the appeal, and urges all actors involved in armed conflicts and situations of political crisis to work across divides, and put the needs of people before politics. We further stress that economic sanctions should not impede humanitarian access or the provision of food, essential health supplies and medical support. We encourage all states to provide the necessary clarifications to ensure that their respective sanctions do not pose obstacles to the global fight against the pandemic,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
ʻGlobal threats can only be solved through global efforts. Laying down arms is a crucial step in the fight against Covid-19, but it is not the only step called for. We must also combat the pandemic with an effective, coordinated international response that takes into account the different ways in which women, men and children are affected by Covid-19. The UN has a key role to play in this regard. Only by working together can we protect our societies from the human suffering that conflicts and the pandemic both are causing,’ said the Foreign Minister.