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UN Security Council unanimously adopts resolution demanding COVID ceasefire

The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution demanding a “sustained humanitarian pause” in all conflict areas to enable coronavirus vaccine access.

The British-drafted resolution, cosponsored by 112 countries, intends to facilitate the unhindered delivery of vaccines and the vaccination of millions of people in conflict areas

The text reiterated the council’s demand last July for “general and immediate cessation of hostilities” in major conflicts from Syria and Yemen to the Central African Republic, Mali and Sudan and Somalia.

It expressed concern that an appeal for ceasefires to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, which was first made by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in March 2020, “was not fully heeded.”

Britain’s UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward, the current council president, said the “historic” resolution “will help bring vaccines to 160 million people in conflict areas or displaced by conflict.”

In a commentary published in August last year following the adoption of the first council resolution on the subject, International Crisis Group, a think-tank, noted that its practical effects had been “all but nil.”

“Only one conflict party – Colombia’s National Liberation Army or ELN – has explicitly cited the resolution in offering to suspend hostilities and the Colombian government rejected the overture.”

Yet, the commentary read, such resolutions could offer a “basis to warn Council members of the pandemic’s evolving security implications, in the hope that they will respond a little better to the risks it creates than they have so far.”

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