Creating new perspectives since 2009

UN: At least 284 civilian deaths in Libya this year

December 20, 2019 at 9:30 pm

Smoke rises after air strikes hit Libya, 18 November 2019 [Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations said Friday it is concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Libya with at least 284 civilian deaths this year, Anadolu Agency reports.

“This is an increase of more than a quarter over the number of casualties recorded during the same period last year,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville.

The concerns include what is happening to civilians, attacks against human rights defenders and journalists, treatment of migrants and refugees, and conditions of detention and impunity, he said at a bi-weekly news briefing.

The most significant cause of civilian casualties was airstrikes with 182 civilians killed and 212 wounded, Colville said.

He cited the World Health Organization saying there were 61 different attacks against health institutions.

READ: Pope denounces ‘torture, slavery’ in Libyan migrant camps

The spokesman said that 343,000 civilians had been displaced from densely populated areas due to ongoing conflicts and there is risk of the displacement of another 100,000 civilians.

“It is an incredibly complicated situation in Libya. It is not a simple two-party equation in Libya,” said Colville, when asked by Anadolu Agency who was responsible for the deaths.

“We cannot easily identify who is involved. In some cases, it is far from clear. I can’t give an individual breakdown.”

The oil-rich country has been beset by turmoil since 2011 when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed in a NATO-backed uprising after four decades in power.

Libya has since seen the emergence of two rival seats of power: one in eastern Libya, with which Khalifa Haftar is affiliated, and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, which enjoys UN recognition.

READ: Fighting intensifies between Libya GNA and Haftar forces south of Tripoli