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Secretary-General António Guterres holds a virtual press conference to release a report on the impact of his call for a global ceasefire during the COVID-19 outbreak. // UN photo/Loey Felipe

Secretary-General António Guterres holds a virtual press conference to release a report on the impact of his call for a global ceasefire during the COVID-19 outbreak. // UN photo/Loey Felipe

Appeal for global ceasefire

April 3, 2020 — 

In late 2018, the University of Manitoba was recognized for its ongoing research and initiatives that contribute to developments in clean water and sanitation and named the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) Hub for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which ensures the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation. 

In the context of the global battle against COVID-19, we join the UNAI hubs on the Sustainable Development Goals in welcoming the call by the UN Nations Secretary-General António Guterres for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world,” says Digvir Jayas, vice-president (research and international). 

“It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives as we confront our common enemy —COVID 19, says Guterres. 

Secretary-General António Guterres. // UN photo, Mark Garten

Secretary-General António Guterres. // UN photo, Mark Garten

The global academic sector has been particularly devastated by the economic, social and, above all, human consequences of the virus. Equally, this sector has shouldered the responsibility of doing the best it can, through research and community engagement, to mitigate these ill effects, limit their spread and work towards their successful elimination and future prevention. Its work and efforts thrive in an atmosphere of peace and freedom from conflict, never more needed than in a time as now when faced with a virus that does not attack one side or the other but makes victims of all. 

Below is the full appeal issued by The Secretary General, António Guterres: 

Our world faces a common enemy: COVID-19.  

The virus does not care about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith. It attacks all, relentlessly. 

Meanwhile, armed conflict rages on around the world.  

The most vulnerable — women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and the displaced — pay the highest price. 

They are also at the highest risk of suffering devastating losses from COVID-19. 

Let’s not forget that in war-ravaged countries, health systems have collapsed. 

Health professionals, already few in number, have often been targeted. 

Refugees and others displaced by violent conflict are doubly vulnerable. 

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. 

It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives. 

To warring parties, I say: 

  • Pull back from hostilities.  
  • Put aside mistrust and animosity. 
  • Silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes.

This is crucial… 

  • 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.

Let us take inspiration from coalitions and dialogue slowly taking shape among rival parties in some parts to enable joint approaches to COVID-19. But we need much more. 

End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world. 

It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now. 

That is what our human family needs, now more than ever. 

Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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