Libyan national conference postponed, nearly 500,000 children at ‘direct risk’ from fighting around Tripoli

© UNHCR/Sufyan Ararah As renewed fighting broke out in Tripoli, Libya, in early-September, UNHCR’s local office provided assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers who escaped from detention centres as rockets exploded around the capital. 8 September 2018.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


An imminent UN-led Libyan conference seeking to set up elections for the war-ravaged, oil-rich country has been postponed because of ongoing clashes near the capital, the top United Nations official in the country said on Tuesday.

Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), made the announcement after condemning Monday’s attack by the self-styled Libyan National Army’s (LNA) aircraft against Meitiga airport, Tripoli’s only functioning terminal that is available for civilian use.

The conference was hoping to reach agreement among the various political factions after months of UN-led discussions at a local level nationwide, towards democratic elections which would unify the country and lead to way to economic recovery.

The development follows concerns voiced by the UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, that attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in recent days, may amount to war crimes, including those by LNA commander Khalifa Haftar.

Airport attack may have been indiscriminate

“Khalifa Haftar’s people are saying that they bombed it because there was a military target,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the High Commissioner’s office, OHCHR. “Now even if this is a military target, all feasible precautions need to be taken to minimize the incidental loss of civilian lives, to refrain from indiscriminate attacks. We have reports that the weapons that were used are not…the latest technology; that they may, in effect, have been indiscriminate.”

The spiralling violence comes after years of instability that have followed the overthrow of President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, with the internationally-recognized and Tripoli-based Government of National Accord now, in effect, under assault from eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces.

More than 3,400 people have fled fighting near Tripoli in recent days, the UN has warned, in addition to “47 dead and 181 wounded” in the last three days, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO), spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said.

“The current clashes are burdening the already overloaded health system with frequent supply chain breaks,” Mr. Jasarevic explained, noting that as Libya’s year-old conflict “has dragged on, hundreds of primary healthcare centres and more than 20 of its hospitals have been damaged or closed”.

In addition to overstretched health services, the WHO spokesperson noted that one of two doctors killed at the weekend “was reportedly killed while working as part of a field ambulance service”.

Detained migrants and refugees ‘could be used as human shields’

Meanwhile, amid reports of clashes involving heavy artillery in residential areas of Tripoli, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, reiterated its fears for the safety of migrants and refugees held in detention centres.

“What we are concerned about is that these vulnerable migrants may be caught in the crossfire, especially when armed groups involved in the conflict, exercise influence or control over the detention facilities, these ad hoc detention facilities for migrants,” said Ms. Shamdasani. “Based on previous experience with Libya, we are also concerned that migrants may be used as human shields, or forcefully recruited to fight as well.”

Those concerns were echoed by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, whose spokesperson Babar Baloch, said that staff had been in contact with anxious detainees, who number 5,700 in official detention centres.

“We have spoken to refugees in detention centres who tell us they can hear the clashes, and many are really scared,” he said. “We are asking, advocating for the release of all migrants and refugees from detention and … seeking a guarantee for the safety of refugees and migrants as well.”

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

A Sting Exclusive: “Regional Policy: a fully-fledged investment policy”, Commissioner Cretu reveals live from European Business Summit 2015

G20 starts to tackle inequality

This UK footballer just won free school meals for kids in the summer holidays

UN chief hopeful for Libya, after Quartet meeting in Tunis

Lithuania finds the ways to maintain its energy security

Climate change could be making forests shorter – this is how

Why carbon capture could be the game-changer the world needs

Covid-19 crisis shows supply chains need to embrace new technologies

Greece @ MWC14: Greek-born mobile champions at MWC 2014

Can we crack the hydrogen puzzle this time around?

The von der Leyen Commission: for a Union that strives for more

Is our brave new world about to burst?

More women in Latin America are working, but gender gap persists, new UN figures show

What the car industry has done to help fight climate change – and what it needs to do next

Only a few months away from the single European patent space

How the gender commuting gap could be harming women’s careers

Simple Technology Saving Lives: Remote Auscultation

How technology is driving a fourth wave of environmentalism

Why we need to solve our quantum security challenges

State aid: Commission approves Danish public financing of Fehmarn Belt fixed rail-road link

Home or office? Survey shows opinions about work after COVID-19

How AI is serving up aces at Wimbledon – and what the technology means for the future of sport

A lack of affordable homes is forcing young Britons to live with their parents

The benefits of a cashless society

Mergers: Commission refers acquisition of newly created joint venture by Telefónica and Liberty Global to the UK competition authority

In Tunisia, budding entrepreneurs can take a year off their job

This South Korean city once had the biggest coronavirus outbreak outside of China. Now it’s reported zero new cases

8 top stories from the week in Davos 2020

This is how much data we’re using on our phones

Palliative care and health coverage: informing is also universalizing

Mental Health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

MEPs call for new EU strategy to promote democracy in Russia

Russia is ready for its Phase 3 evaluation once it fulfills high-priority recommendation

Budget MEPs approve €104.2 m in EU aid to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal

What has COVID-19 taught us about decarbonized electricity grids?

The technologies – and thoughtful collaborations – that can build resilience in the food system after COVID-19

Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) of 22/05/2018: EU relations with key trading partners

Geopolitics and investment in emerging markets after COVID-19

Globally, youth are the largest poverty-stricken group, says new UN report

The UN’s unyielding effort to tackle sexual abuse and exploitation: our quarterly update

UN condemns Syrian ‘war on children’ as up to 30 reportedly killed in clashes

Road use charges: reforms aim to improve fairness and environmental protection

The EU’s Response to COVID-19

Nearly a third of the globe is now on Facebook – chart of the day

October’s EU strong digital mix: From Safe Harbour to Net Neutrality, Roaming and Snowden

Afghanistan: Civilian casualties caused by IEDs has reached ‘extreme levels’, UN warns

What is the biggest benefit technology will have on ageing and longevity?

After the George Floyd protests, what next for racial justice in the US?

How businesses can help solve society’s workforce problems

European Union: From financial consolidation to deeper political division

Why gin made from peas helps the environment

‘Severe’ new US asylum restrictions will put vulnerable families at risk, UN refugee agency says

MEPs demand safe and clean travel

European Semester 2018 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to achieve sustainable, inclusive and long-term growth

Q&A on extraordinary remote participation procedure

Earthquake: Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena

Big tech cannot crack down on online hate alone. We need to fund the smaller players

Governments and non-state actors need to take urgent action to meet Paris Agreement goals

Security Council should ‘nurture’ Colombian consensus against return to violence, top UN official urges

Palliative care and Universal Health Coverage: how to advocate for the inclusion of palliative care in UHC

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: