Yesterday United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned a recent attack by the Libyan National Army (LNA) – loyal to General Khalifa Haftar – on Independence (formerly Al-Khadra) Hospital in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, for the second consecutive day.
In an official statement, Guterres denounced what he described as: “The continued attacks on medical personnel, hospitals and medical facilities, particularly at a time when they are critical to preventing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.”
He stressed that any attacks on medical workers, hospitals and facilities are: “Protected by international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes.”
In March, Guterres called for an: “Immediate ceasefire of all conflicts taking place throughout the world, while devoting global efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
“It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives,” the UN official demanded. “Our world is facing a common enemy: COVID-19. The virus does not care about nationality, ethnicity, faction or faith,” he pressed.
While the conflicted parties welcomed the UN calls, hostilities were reported to have intensified in recent days.
Since the ousting of the late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: General Haftar in eastern Libya, supported by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.
The GNA has been under attack by Haftar’s forces since last April, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.