Young Africans from Children for Peace and the African Network of Young Leaders for Peace and Sustainable Development (ANYL4PSD) have given strong support for the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire. And they have joined the Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign to cut nuclear budgets in order to help fund the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and address the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a detailed statement Armed conflict, corona virus pandemic and a ceasefire: Impact on children in Africa, Divina Maloum (pictured above), founder of Children for Peace and co-winner with Greta Thunberg of the influential 2019 International Children’s Peace Prize, outlines the impact of armed conflict on children and on public health systems in Africa. She warns about the dire humanitarian consequences if governments and militias continue fighting rather than cooperating to prevent spread of the coronavirus and mitigate its impact on public health and the economy.
‘Healthcare systems across Africa could collapse under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic since conflict-hit regions have many hospitals that have already been damaged and the basics such as clean water and soap necessary to fight the virus are in short supply due to armed conflict. The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war. The global ceasefire is absolutely essential for an effective response to the crisis in areas of conflict. War doesn’t make any sense when we have an epidemic that affects us all.’
Divina Maloum, founder of Children for Peace and winner of the 2019 International Children’s Peace Prize.
The Guardian reports that eleven countries that are locked in long-term conflicts have now responded to the UN call for a worldwide ceasefire, and the total number of countries supporting the ceasefire call has risen to 70. (Click here for a joint statement from 53 supporting countries). However, the UN Secretary-General notes that “there was still a distance between declarations and deeds in many countries”. He has asked his special envoys across the globe to redouble their efforts to persuade combatants to lower their guns to allow humanitarian workers to combat the coronavirus.
A global petition supporting the ceasefire has already gained over 1.6 million endorsers. Click here to add your support.
Divina and other members of Children for Peace and ANYL4PSD, have also submitted memes for the Move the Nuclear Weapons Money social media campaign, making the connections between nuclear disarmament, peace, sustainable development and public health. Below are a few of these.