‘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,’ says Divina. ‘In northern Mali, 93 % of Health care facilities have already been destroyed [by armed conflict]. And in many countries, as the people flee fighting in some areas, the population of many towns has doubled. Refugees and others displaced by violent conflict are doubly vulnerable to the impact of corona virus.’

Divina, who is founder of Children for Peace and works closely with the African Network of Young Leaders for Peace and Sustainable Development (ANYL4PSD), says that ‘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.’

However, she also says that the global ceasefire is ‘a value in itself. War doesn’t make sense in any circumstances’ and that youth are particularly impacted by armed conflict.

‘As a result of increasing levels of violence and insecurity, many children and students across the African continent are no longer able to attend school or university, undermining their quality of life both now and in the future. Indeed, the phenomenon is disproportionately impacting the youth.’

‘ Marginalised from political processes, lacking in viable employment options and suffering from an increasing sense of desperation, the youth are easy targets for radicalised recruiters who lure or coerce boys and girls and young men and women with a diverse mix of religious narratives, financial incentives, a glimmer of hope, and often, with violence. The ceasefire should be an opportunity to re-envision each government as that puts upholding basic human rights at its core, and, in doing so, better protects national and international security.’


The full article can be read here: http://www.unfoldzero.org/coronavirus-armed-conflict-and-children-african-youth-leaders-urge-support-for-un-ceasefire-call/