Photo: UN Web TV
On July 1st, the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted for the Global Ceasefire. Thank you to all who supported the call for the Global Ceasefire by signing petitions, sharing the message on social media, writing letters to the editor, and spreading the word!
The Security Council adopted Resolution 2532 which “Recognises efforts and measures proposed by the Secretary-General concerning the response to the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to conflict-affected countries, in particular his appeal for an immediate global ceasefire.”
Nonviolent Peaceforce has supported the Secretary-General António Guterres’ call for a global ceasefire from the outset. With COVID-19, the development of durable peace is crucial,especially for vulnerable populations.The Resolution passed three months after the Secretary-General's call for a Global Ceasefire on March 23, but was finally adopted, following lengthy disagreements and negotiations between Council members.
Nonviolent Peaceforce and aid organizations hope the Global Ceasefire will lead to much needed humanitarian aid and support in areas of conflict. The Resolution “Calls upon all parties to armed conflicts to engage immediately in a durable humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days, in order to enable the safe, unhindered and sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance." The sustained provision of humanitarian aid has been difficult given novel challenges of COVID-19.
Vulnerable populations such as women, children, and internally displaced persons have faced unique challenges to their safety, health, and security with COVID-19. Notably, the document "Acknowledges the critical role that women are playing in COVID-19 response efforts, as well as the disproportionate negative impact of the pandemic.” Acknowledgment and informed responses to these challenges as well as the elevation of local voices is critical.
The newly-passed resolution “Demands a general and immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations on its agenda.” However, the ceasefire does not apply “to military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al Qaeda and Al Nusra Front.”
While disagreement between China and United States stalled the Resolution significantly, pressure from other members, most notably France and Tunisia pushed it through. Nonviolent Peaceforce applauds their efforts and supports future work to implement the Resolution’s expectations. As France and Tunisia expressed in a joint statement, “this resolution is setting clear priorities: a cessation of hostilities, a humanitarian pause and solidarity to face the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no alternative to fight effectively the pandemic.”
The language of the Resolution is not as strong as initial proposals due to disagreement within the Council of what should be included. Of particular contention was debate over the inclusion of the World Health Organization (WHO) between the United States and China. In April, Trump announced plans to withdraw from the WHO and shortly thereafter a May attempt to pass a Resolution supporting a global ceasefire failed due to US opposition to the inclusion of the WHO in the document. The final resolution passed last weekdoes not include the WHO.
Nonviolent Peaceforce is encouraged by the Security Council’s unanimous support of the Global Ceasefire and we are excited to see it implemented. We particularly appreciate the UN’s recognition that, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,vulnerable populations, such as women in conflict,are disproportionately affected. And although the Resolution does not include all areas affected by conflict, we hope this Resolution will generate long-term efforts towards sustainable and equitable peace.