The Time for Peace is Now!
CSPPS Reiterates Call for Ceasefires to Combat COVID-19 and Urges a UN Security Council Resolution
The Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS) reiterates its full support for the global ceasefire appeal to stall the spread of the novel coronavirus, issued by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on 23 March. “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war,” Guterres said. “That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world.”
We have felt encouraged by the global outpouring of support for the Secretary-General’s appeal, and we were delighted to see conflict parties from Colombia to Cameroon, and from Sudan to Yemen, declare unilateral ceasefires in response. While the results have been mixed, with ceasefire declarations in Libya having failed to materialise, and with fighting having resumed where ceasefires had been called, we commend the Secretary-General for exhibiting leadership at a time of acute crisis. Lives have been saved by the ceasefires to date, and we maintain hope that these may serve as windows of confidence-building opportunities to eventually facilitate durable peace. Any ceasefires declared need to be sustained by the concerted efforts of all conflict parties and mediators, and must serve to deescalate drivers of conflict.
Following the Secretary-General’s appeal, CSPPS promptly added its voice to the Global Ceasefire Campaign, a coalition of now more than 250 organisations supporting the appeal. On 9 April we issued a statement on behalf of our wide membership, which includes local civil society alliances in more than 25 fragile and conflict-affected countries. It calls for inclusive, conflict-sensitive responses to COVID-19 and urges the international community to live up to the Secretary-General’s example.
Since, we have felt frustrated by the repeated failures of the UN Security Council to reach agreement on a resolution endorsing the Secretary-General’s appeal. It is worrisome that the body endowed with primary responsibility for international peace and security cannot manage, owing to the petty intransigence of certain members, to agree to the urgent, self-evident need for cessations of hostilities while the world is threatened by a pandemic.
We call on conflict parties to declare and maintain ceasefires, and urge the UN Security Council to overcome its divisions to approve a resolution in support of humanitarian ceasefires. Nothing less is at stake than the safety of all persons everywhere, especially of the most vulnerable among us. Equally so, nothing less is at stake than the Security Council’s credibility as well as the continued viability of the multilateral project we have inherited from the generation of 1945. Let us not squander that precious inheritance.