United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has reiterated his call for an immediate global ceasefire given the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted, “The global ceasefire appeal is resonating across the world. The call has been endorsed by an ever-growing number of Member States” along civil society networks and organizations and many others.
Guterres also highlighted, “But, there is a huge distance between declarations and deeds — between translating words into peace on the ground and in the lives of people.”
While Canada has quietly joined with other countries in endorsing the Secretary-General’s call for a ceasefire, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not spoken to the issue at any of his daily media briefings since Guterres’ first plea on March 23.
Furthermore, the Canadian government has just lifted its moratorium on the approval of new export permits for weapon sales to Saudi Arabia. This announcement was made on April 9, the same day that Saudi Arabia declared a 2-week ceasefire in its war with Yemen that has killed more than 100,000 people over the past five years.
And while people are being asked to stay at home and many businesses have closed to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the arms industry has noted the Canadian government has recognized “defence and security in its definition of essential services and functions.”
That means that despite Canada’s endorsement of the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire, and a 2-week ceasefire being called in the Saudi Arabia-Yemen war, that the Canadian factory that builds armoured vehicles that may be being used in that war remains open during the pandemic.
The UN Secretary-General highlights, “To silence the guns, we must raise the voices for peace.” The principles and mandate of Peace Brigades International affirms, “Enduring peace and lasting solutions of conflicts between and within nations cannot be achieved by violent means.”
To send an email to the Prime Minister asking him to endorse the global ceasefire and state that the arms industry is not an essential service, please click here.
Brent Patterson is the executive director of Peace Brigades International-Canada.