Pause international conflicts for 30 days, France tells UNSC members

Conflicts hampering global efforts to counter spread of novel coronavirus, says resolution.

April 21, 2020 02:01 pm | Updated 02:09 pm IST - NEW DELHI

File photo of a UN Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters in New York.

File photo of a UN Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters in New York.

A draft resolution on COVID-19 pandemic that is being negotiated among members of the United Nations Security Council has called for halting global conflicts for 30 days.

The resolution circulated by France has argued that conflicts are hampering global efforts to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus and asked U.N. members to be fully transparent on the disease and provide “real-time information”.

Also read: UN member states demand 'equitable' access to future COVID-19 vaccines

In view of the conflicts that continue to rage despite the pandemic, the text of the resolution called on “all parties to engage immediately in a durable humanitarian pause for at least 30 consecutive days, in order to enable the safe, unimpeded and sustained delivery of humanitarian aid and services and medical evacuations, in accordance with international law”.

It further argued that continued international violence will create conditions for easy transmission of the novel coronavirus through movement of displaced persons and “will therefore have a major impact on all populations and on our ability to contain this pandemic”. The text also drew attention to the impact of the viral outbreak on the camps of “internally displaced persons”.

The French draft resolution is relevant for South Asia in view of the current phase of ceasefire violations at the Line of Control in Kashmir, accompanied by sharp exchanges between India and Pakistan.

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

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh claimed on April 19 that India has been carrying out “targeted strikes on terror launch pads” along the LoC, even as a number of clashes were reported among the fighters and the security forces in the Kashmir valley, which is among the top COVID-19-affected regions of India. India and Pakistan are most affected by COVID-19 in South Asia and have witnessed large-scale internal migration because of the outbreak in recent weeks.

Secretary General Antonio Guterres last month called for a global ceasefire to put conflicts in “lockdown”. The top official of the U.N. was followed by French President Emmanuel Macron, who called Chinese President Xi Jinping, U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the U.K. regarding the need to stop global hostilities in order to deal with the pandemic, which has disrupted economies and nations across the globe.

Apart from the 30-days pause in hostilities, the draft resolution called on U.N. members to guarantee “full and unhindered humanitarian access” to the people living in the conflict areas and requested “for full transparency and real-time information sharing among Member States regarding the outbreak of COVID-19 under WHO coordination”.

The French proposal also suggested that the U.N. peace-keeping operations should be mobilised to support efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the affected conflict areas. Apart from France, Tunisia has also circulated a draft resolution that reiterates Secretary General Guterres’ call for global ceasefire.

Sources at the U.N. said that discussion was currently on among the UNSC member countries regarding the proposed ideas in the resolutions that follow the April 9 closed meeting of the highest U.N. body. which failed to produce results because of conflicting views of the United States and China.

India, which is not a member of the UNSC, is part of the wider consultation at the U.N. but is yet to comment on the French proposals.

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