Coronavirus. Armed conflicts continue around the world

The global pandemic has had little effect on the wars in progress in the Near and Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. The UN and NGOs are calling for truces to help the distressed populations now at risk from the coronavirus.

While many states claim to be at war with the pandemic which has already killed nearly 70,000 people worldwide, armed conflicts continue across the globe, from Somalia to Afghanistan, including Libya and Syria.

Impossible to confine oneself in operation

None of the countries ravaged by the fighting are immune to the coronavirus. Both government troops and members of armed groups are vulnerable to contamination since a combatant in operations cannot be contained. It operates in very small spaces, such as the hold of a helicopter and the body of an armored vehicle, in which between 6 and 10 people take place. It is impossible to confine oneself to operation, except to stop the operations themselves, summarizes Jean-Marc Tanguy, journalist for Raids magazine, interviewed on Saturday on France Inter. Worse, the continuation of hostilities hampers the work of local health teams and international NGOs. It thus endangers populations already weakened by the deprivation of food and health care. This is the case, for example, in Syria. The war killed 103 civilians there in March, the lowest monthly death toll since the start of the conflict in 2011. But several humanitarian organizations are concerned about the fate of the hundreds of thousands of displaced people as the coronavirus spreads throughout the country, where authorities have reported ten cases of contamination, including two deaths.

The worse is yet to come

The UN has recently called for a global ceasefire to fight the epidemic, while NGOs have warned of a health disaster if the virus spreads, especially to IDP camps or camps. prisoners.

In countries in conflict, “the worst is yet to come,” warned UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday, reiterating his call for ceasefires around the world to help stem the tide. progression of Covid-19. There is a chance for peace, but we are far from it. The need is urgent. The Covid-19 storm is now coming to all theaters of conflict, he added, reporting on the progress made since his March 23 appeal. According to him, a substantial number of parties to conflicts have expressed their agreement to a cessation of hostilities, notably in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Libya, Burma, the Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria , in Ukraine and Yemen.

A huge gap between declarations and acts

Welcoming the support for his appeal from some 70 states, NGOs, representatives of civil society and religious leaders, including Pope Francis, and a petition that gathered more than a million signatures, Antonio Guterres however judged that solid diplomatic efforts were still needed.  

A huge gap remains between words and deeds – turning words into peace on the ground and in people’s lives, he lamented, even referring to situations where conflicts have intensified, such as Libya, Somalia , the Sahel.

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