May 8, 2020 marked 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe – VE Day. While the conflict which claimed millions of lives on European soil is firmly committed to the annals of history, conflict in the East of the continent is still a harsh reality in the present day. The Ukrainian crisis, ravaging the Donbass region of the country, has so far amassed a death toll around the 13 thousand mark.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres appealed for an immediate global ceasefire, saying in March: “Our world faces a common enemy: COVID-19. The virus does not care about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith. It attacks all, relentlessly. Meanwhile, armed conflict rages on around the world.”
As extensive data collection by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) shows, a large portion of the globe is engulfed in some form of conflict. This infographic shows countries in which there have been reports of armed clashes involving state forces and/or rebel groups in 2020. Even using this simplified definition, the presence of war across the world is extensive.
Unlike the situations in Donbass and Syria, for example, not all conflicts fit the picture we may have in our minds when thinking of war. In Mexico for example, ACLED has recorded 3 armed clashes involving state forces. Each one though was a battle between different law enforcement entities – providing a snapshot of the ongoing fight against police corruption and the deep-seated influence of organized crime.
At the time of writing, Guterres’ call for a sweeping global ceasefire has not yet won the backing of the United States and Russia. According to a report by the American news publication Foreign Policy: “Both governments fear that a universal cease-fire could potentially constrain their own efforts to mount what they consider legitimate counterterrorism operations overseas.”
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