Covid-19: UN suspends rotation, deployment of peacekeepers till June 30

Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. Photo: Reuters
UN chief Antonio Guterres has suspended the rotation and deployment of peacekeepers until June 30 to mitigate the risk of transmission of the novel coronavirus.

"Our priorities are to ensure the Covid-19-free status of incoming uniformed personnel, and mitigate the risk that UN peacekeepers could be a contagion vector and simultaneously maintain our operational capabilities," Guterres' Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at the daily press briefing on Tuesday.

He said that in order to prevent and contain the risk of transmission of the deadly virus, rotation and deployment of uniformed personnel, police and military units has been suspended until June 30 and the decision has been transmitted to all Troop and Police Contributing Countries, as well as to all relevant peace operations.

Dujarric said a "few, limited exceptions" may be considered to continue to deliver on the mandate, but only in extenuating circumstances on the basis of strict conditions to prevent the spread of the virus. He added that the UN is working closely with the troops and police-contributing countries.

Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix briefed the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations known as the 'C34' and was given support for this initiative.

"We very much hope that the Member States will work with us. I think no one wants to see UN peacekeeping operations being a vector for the spread of COVID-19," Dujarric said.

For nations that are bringing their troops home also want to ensure that the personnel are safe and so it is important to take quarantine measures, he said.

India is among the largest troop-contributing nations to the UN peacekeeping operations.

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