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As COVID-19 spreads, global peacebuilders call on governments to re-commit to peace

Over 170 organizations release statement for International Day of Peace

United Nations General Assembly Hall
United Nations General Assembly Hall in the UN Headquarters, New York. Photo: Basil D Soufi / AFSC

NEW YORK, NY (September 17, 2020) Over 170 international and domestic peacebuilding organizations have issued an urgent call to action for peace. The statement points out that responses to crisis that increase violence, injustice and exclusion will worsen development losses and increase human suffering. A focus on peace, justice and inclusion must be at the heart of the response to COVID-19. 

The statement, released at the opening of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, calls on governments and the international community to: mainstream peace in the response to COVID-19; prioritize inclusion in analysis and action; make space for building peace; and reaffirm multilateralism and international norms as a safeguard for the most vulnerable.

“Our hearts go out to those suffering today, in the sober knowledge that this may be a foretaste of the disruptions that may arise in the years to come,” said Andrew Tomlinson, director of the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO). “If we are to meet the challenges of tomorrow, we must recommit to peace today.”

The Quaker United Nations Office – an organization that works to promote peace and justice at the United Nations and other global institutions – played a key role in drafting and circulating the statement. The signatories include organizations dedicated to peace from throughout the world, including faith-based groups, international development agencies, policy organizations, and others.

See the complete statement and signatories here. 

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Since 1947, QUNO has worked with diplomats, UN officials, and civil society to support a UN that prioritizes peace and prevents war. QUNO uses Quaker House and its convening power to facilitate off-the-record meetings and bring perspectives from outside the UN system in order to promote peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict at a policy level in New York. QUNO also works closely with the American Friends Service Committee and other Quaker Service Agencies in country, and with Friends’ policy offices in Geneva, Washington, and Brussels. For more see http://www.quno.org