Pandemic Pauses: Understanding Ceasefires in a Time of Covid-19

Citation: Wise, L., Badanjak, S., Bell, C., and Knäussel, F. (2021). Pandemic Pauses: Understanding Ceasefires in a Time of Covid-19 (PSRP Research Report). Edinburgh: Global Justice Academy, University of Edinburgh.

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Summary: On 23 March 2020, the UN Secretary General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres called for an immediate global ceasefire, to help tackle the threat of Covid-19 rather than compound the risk to those in fragile and conflict-affected areas. In response to this call, multiple states, international, regional, and local organisations declared their support for a global ceasefire, and since March 2020, conflict parties have declared 25 ceasefires, across 17 countries. In this report, we draw on the ‘Ceasefires in a Time of Covid-19’ tracker to analyse how ceasefires have unfolded throughout the pandemic, and to consider how the pandemic has affected moves towards ceasefires and peace processes. In Part I, we provide data on what types of ceasefires conflict parties have declared since March 2020, and the extent to which these ceasefires have held. In Part II, we put forward key analytical and practical concerns for understanding these ceasefires and considering what, if anything, ceasefires during the pandemic mean for wider peace processes. In Part III, we conclude that, although the Covid-19 pandemic has not been a ‘game-changer’ for ceasefire and peace process trajectories, it is now a crucial part of the context in which peace processes must take place. We make recommendations for how ceasefires, and peacemaking more generally, can be better supported during global health emergencies.

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