In response to the Corona-pandemic, UN secretary António Guterres called for a worldwide ceasefire, saying: “Our world faces a common enemy: COVID-19. The virus does not care about ethnicity or nationality, faction or faith. It attacks all, relentlessly. Meanwhile, armed conflict rages on around the world. The most vulnerable — women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and the displaced — pay the highest price.”
The mulit-religious and global organization Religions for Peace (RfP), with over fifty religions , decided to show their support of the general secretary’s call and published a statement to echo his call.
– We call for a global ceasefire with the hope it will be sustainable. We hope that the ceasefire does not only bring an immediate stop to wars – but a positive peace! That we become aware of our co-dependence, more aware of the vulnerabilities all over the world, also after this crisis. We hope that after the crisis, we have learnt something, that we are a dependent world family, a world of neighbours, Thomas Wipf, President of the European Council of Religious Leaders ECRL – Religions for Peace, says.
In addition, RfP, launches a multi-religious humanitarian fund. It will stimulate creative interventions that promote resilience within and among diverse communities. The fund will provide a small seed grant to those Interreligious Councils (IRC) and multi-religious networks who are able to propose programs aimed at enhancing awareness about precautionary measures, supporting vulnerable households, combatting discrimination in speech as well as actions, and serving the needs of the most vulnerable individuals and communities.
The interreligious platforms who will be awarded this will have a track record of collaboration, and/or humanitarian relief provision. That mulit– or interreligious work is even more crucial in times like this is obvious to Wipf:
– What we experience now is – no boarders! We are challenged by the same virus. We are all the same in front of the danger of this virus. What separates us – political, economical, religious traditions – is now less in focus, less important. We have to fight for our common life.
General Secretary Guterres concluded his speech by saying: “End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world. It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now. That is what our human family needs, now more than ever.”
Thomas Wipf hopes for a deeper sense of community, even after the crisis:
– Now, we see how dependent we are. We must fight for the life of everybody. Hopefully that will become a part of our future identity.
Today I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world.
It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives – the #COVID19 pandemic.https://t.co/F6JRA6ekvZ pic.twitter.com/7WgtFMk5GC
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) March 23, 2020