Armed Conflicts Constraints Efforts to Protect Vulnerable Groups from COVID-19

Continued violent and armed conflict severely constraints the efforts of local, national, and international organizations to protect refugees, displaced people, women, children, the elderly and other vulnerable groups from the spread of the virus. 

As countries around the world have closed their borders to isolate COVID-19, criminals are finding new ways to abuse the vulnerability of irregular migrants wishing to enter or travel across Europe and those financially struggling, victimised in labour or sexual exploitation schemes, shows new report by the European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC).

Islamic Relief and Lutheran World Federation, in a joint statement, pledge their support to the call for a global ceasefire: 

“As faith-based organizations engaged in life-saving humanitarian assistance, development work, and community empowering advocacy, we do not believe that war and violence can ever be the solution to the challenges we face. We seek justice, peace and reconciliation for all, and especially during this time when the world is experiencing an unprecedented pandemic.”

The organizations call for:

  1. immediate cessation of hostilities in the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Myanmar, Cameroon, Colombia and the many other countries that face armed conflict.
  2. redoubled efforts by the international community towards a complete ceasefire to enable safe and efficient delivery of humanitarian assistance during these times.
  3. people of all faiths and of goodwill worldwide to advocate for peace and justice, and in solidarity, support the most vulnerable who are facing significant threats to their lives and livelihoods from COVID-19.