Image courtesy of Jeffery Harris/DVIDS
Humanitarian ceasefires are intended to open up windows of relief for affected civilians during armed conflict. With COVID-19 spreading across the world and the UN Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire, hopes were high that ceasefires could help contain the pandemic and ease civilian suffering. The small number of COVID-19 ceasefires, however, is sobering. This might be explained by how a ceasefire declared in response to the coronavirus pandemic can appear to entail far-reaching commitments with uncertain benefits and high costs. In contrast to usual humanitarian ceasefires, pandemic ceasefires hence seem as too big of a risk to take. Tying ceasefire calls to concrete objectives with clear temporal and geographic limitations could help to counter this obstacle.