Children in Libya are still suffering greatly amid the violence and chaos resulting from the country's long civil war, a senior UNICEF official has warned. Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore made her comments in a statement issued a day before the start of the Berlin Conference on the situation in the North African state.
"Since last April," she added, "with the eruption of hostilities in Tripoli and western Libya, the conditions of thousands of children and civilians have deteriorated, and random attacks in populated areas have killed hundreds of people."
Fore explained that she had received reports about the maiming or killing of children, as they are being recruited to fight in the battles. "At the same time, more than 150,000 people, including 90,000 children, have been forced to flee their homes and are now internally displaced. Furthermore, the infrastructure on which children depend for their well-being and survival has been targeted, resulting in damage to nearly 30 health facilities, and the full suspension of 13 of them."
The UNICEF official called on all parties with influence in the conflict "to protect children, put an end to their recruitment and exploitation, stop attacks against civilian infrastructure, and allow humanitarian aid to arrive safely and without hindrance."
Fore concluded by saying that the parties to the conflict should reach a comprehensive and lasting peace agreement as a matter of urgency before the Berlin Conference.