Christian Aid welcomes UN call for global ceasefire as Covid-19 spreads across developing countries
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the developing world, Christian Aid has praised the United Nations for issuing a call to a global ceasefire.
Over recent days, the disease has begun to spread across a number of war-torn countries, including Syria, the Israeli and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (IoPT), Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Bangladesh. Many of these regions do not possess the healthcare facilities required to deal with a high level of infections. In addition, perpetual outbreaks of armed conflict and insurgency mean it is difficult for humanitarian aid to reach the worst-affected areas.
Calling for the ceasefire on Monday, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that the "fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war."
"That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world," he added. "It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives."
Guterres urged warring parties to "silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes" in order to "help create corridors for life-saving aid. To open precious windows for diplomacy.?To bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to Covid-19."
Responding to the call, Christian Aid's Senior Adviser on Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy, Jane Backhurst said: "Christian Aid works with frontline organisations now battling Covid-19 where there is also war, major food shortages and insecurity, locusts decimating crops, and a lack of infrastructure with only a few hospitals and no testing facilities. The virus means their limited resources are stretched beyond the limit.
"A global ceasefire could be extremely powerful if it enables humanitarian organisations safe and fast access to those most affected."
Backhurst added that the humanitarian response must involve local community and religious leaders if it to be successful:
"Churches and other faith-based organisations in the UK and around the world are mobilising to support the most vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic," she added.
"In many nations where we work, faith and community leaders play an incredibly influential role in peoples' everyday lives. Not involving them in the response from the very beginning, and investing in efforts to address the virus now, could cost lives."