Countries need to fight pandemic, not each other - GulfToday

Countries need to fight pandemic, not each other

Only good on paper

Antonio Guterres. File

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.’

The UAE, on its part, has always extended wholehearted support to global peace efforts.

Just recently, the UAE reiterated its continued commitment to upholding the rights of children around the world and to the architecture established by the UN Security Council on children and armed conflict.

In a written statement submitted to the UN Security Council for its annual open debate on children and armed conflict, the UAE stated, “The COVID-19 pandemic is having broad-reaching and long-term impacts on lives and livelihoods. For children living in conflict situations, this adds yet another layer of vulnerability. They already struggle to access health services and coverage for their basic needs, including access to education. The weakening of their social protection systems incentivises child recruitment by armed groups, as well as sexual exploitation.”

The UAE further expressed to the Security Council that “in order to mitigate the impact of armed conflict on children, the UAE takes this opportunity to renew once again its support for, and commitment to, the Secretary-General’s appeal for a global ceasefire.”

 Since 2017, the UAE has worked with UNICEF and other partners to support the education of 20 million children in 59 countries, including the rebuilding of 16 schools in Mosul and Baghdad in the last year alone.

The UAE has also funded two pre-pilot programmes in Iraq and Colombia that allow refugees and vulnerable migrants to get a UNESCO Qualifications Passport in order to have access to higher education and employment opportunities in the future.

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.

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