This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Philippines ceasefire welcomed after Guterres COVID-19 appeal
In the Philippines, a temporary ceasefire called by the Communist Party of the Philippines with the national Government, has been welcomed by the UN Secretary-General.
The ceasefire announced Tuesday follows an appeal by António Guterres for a global downing of weapons to facilitate the worldwide response to COVID-19.
In a statement, Mr. Guterres encouraged both parties to reach a lasting political solution and end their longstanding conflict.
The Secretary-General added that he hoped their gesture might serve as an example across the world “to silence the guns and come together as we face the global threat” of the new coronavirus.
‘Double-digit’ percentage of global GDP is needed to avert COVID-19 catastrophe: UN chief
Massive investment in the trillions of dollars is needed from the world’s richest nations to keep economies “afloat” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s the message from António Guterres, as world leaders from the so-called G20 major economies hold an emergency virtual summit on Thursday, to discuss the coronavirus.
Ahead of the video conference, which is being hosted by Saudi Arabia, Mr Guterres on Wednesday launched a $2 billion global humanitarian response plan to help those most at risk from the coronavirus outbreak.
More than 450,000 people worldwide have been infected and more than 20,000 have died, to date.
In an interview with Euronews, the UN Chief called for countries to take more aggressive action against the spread of the virus, by testing potential cases, tracing contacts of patients and enforcing strict lockdowns where necessary.
“We need to break” the rising curve of infections, he said, and mobilise a double-digit percentage of the global economy to create one that is more inclusive and sustainable in future.
Developed countries should act in a more coordinated way to support people and businesses, Mr. Guterres said, before calling for around $2.5 to $3 trillion dollars from G20 States to help developing countries do the same.
Latest Kabul attack comes amid growing insecurity in Afghanistan
And finally, the UN Secretary-General has condemned an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on a Sikh-Hindu temple which killed and injured dozens of civilians.
Wednesday’s attack was carried out by Islamic State extremists, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which said that the group had also slain 34 people in the capital earlier this month.
The UN Mission has reported a mounting number of incidents against civilians in the last three and a half weeks, with more than 100 killed and many more injured.
The Taliban has been responsible for a high number of civilian casualties too - mainly from explosive devices and targeted killings – it said.
And although the Mission has noted fewer civilian casualties attributed to Afghan national security forces, it highlighted incidents such as the 21 March Afghan Air Force strike in Kunduz, which killed 11 people, mainly women and children.
In a statement condemning the latest violence, Mr. Guterres said that attacks against civilians are unacceptable and those who carry out such crimes must be held accountable.
He added that the United Nations stands in solidarity with the people and the Government of Afghanistan and will continue supporting efforts to bring peace to their country.
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva