UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has highlighted the remarkable power of non-violence and peaceful protest.
"Let’s be inspired by the spirit of Gandhi and the enduring principles of the UN Charter," he said in a message on the International Day of Non-Violence.
In marking the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, Guterres said it is also a timely reminder to strive to uphold the values that Gandhi lived by: the promotion of dignity, equal protection for all, and communities living together in peace.
"On this year’s observance, we’ve a special duty: stop the fighting to focus on our common enemy: Covid-19. There’s only one winner of conflict during a pandemic: the virus itself," he said.
As the pandemic took hold, the UN Chief called for a global ceasefire. "Today we need a new push by the international community to make this a reality by the end of this year."
He said ceasefires would ease immense suffering, help lower the risk of famine and create space for negotiations towards peace.
"Deep mistrust stands in the way. Yet, I see reasons for hope. In some places, we see a standstill in the violence," Guterres said.
A great many Member States, religious leaders, civil society networks and others back his call.
"Now is the time to intensify our efforts," said the UN chief.