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U.N. reiterates call for global ceasefire in view of COVID-19 outbreak

The UN chief said support for his March 23 ceasefire appeal from governments, regional organizations, armed groups, civil society and individuals throughout the world has been encouraging – but he said in many instances challenges in implementing the ceasefire still need to be overcome.

The United Nations secretary-general is again urging factions in conflict to heed his call for a global ceasefire to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a report to the UN Security Council released on Thursday, Antonio Guterres pointed to the more than 20,000 civilians killed or injured in 2019 attacks in 10 countries – and millions more forced from their homes by fighting.

He said the pandemic is the greatest test the world has faced since the United Nations was established 75 years ago and has already had a severe impact on efforts to protect civilians, especially in conflict-affected countries where weak health care systems can be overwhelmed.

The UN chief said support for his March 23 ceasefire appeal from governments, regional organizations, armed groups, civil society and individuals throughout the world has been encouraging – but he said in many instances challenges in implementing the ceasefire still need to be overcome.

Also read: Refrain from hostilities, top U.N. diplomat urges India and Pakistan

Mr. Guterres reiterated his global ceasefire call, saying as the world confronts the monumental challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to silence the guns could not be more acute.

Also read: Pause international conflicts for 30 days, France tells UNSC members

He issued the appeal in his annual report to the Security Council on the protection of civilians where he stressed that the most effective way to protect them is to prevent the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of armed conflicts.

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