The United Nations Children's Fund - UNICEF - announced Saturday that it needs USD 14.8 million to cover basic life-saving services in Libya, according to Chinese news sources.
"UNICEF humanitarian response remains underfunded. The current funding gap stands at USD 14.8 until the end of 2019 with major funding gaps in all life-saving health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and child protection activities," said a UNICEF spokesperson. The organisation noted nearly 5000 students have been impacted in July and August by the ongoing fighting in and around Tripoli and in western Libya in general. The fighting so far has displaced nearly 130,000 Libyans, who are subject to injury, violence and death.
The ICC - International Criminal Court prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, told the UNSC she has "reliable information" on the whereabouts of Seif al-Islam Ghaddafi, son of former dictator Muamar Ghaddafi, as well as two other Libyans wanted for war crimes.
Bensouda urged all UN states, "including Libya and Egypt" where the three are said to be located, to facilitate the immediate arrest and surrender the Libyan fugitives to the court."
Along with Ghaddafi, the court seeks to arrest Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, who headed the internal security services, and is residing in Cairo, and Mahmud al-Werfalli, an LNA commander. Ghaddafi is supposedly in the Zintan region while Werfalli continues to serve in Haftar's forces and is in the Bengazi area.
The three are wanted for war crimes, including "murder, torture, cruel treatment and .... other inhumane acts."
A group of 6 medical workers held captive by a Libyan militia were released (Oct 23) after 12 days in captivity.
The workers, including doctors, surgeons, nurses and technicians, were a part of a humanitarian convoy making its way through the Nafussa mountains. Family members of the captured individuals believe they were taken by militants from Zintan, who sought to leverage them in order to free a detained militant (from Zintan) being held in Tripoli, who was receiving treatment at a local hospital. The convoy was stopped on October 11, with armed men taking specifically only the medical staff from the Tripoli area hospitals and clinics.
The political and military authorities in Zintan, a city of about 50,000 in northwest Libya, are divided between the GNA and LNA sides of the conflict. One of the LNA’s senior commanders who controls the western forces is from Zintan, and most of the local militias seem to be pro-LNA.
UNSMIL, the UN Support Mission in Libya, reported Friday (10-25) that it has documented at least 58 attacks on health worker and medical facilities throughout Libya this year. The UN representative strongly condemned all attacks on civilian targets, including and especially medical facilities and personnel. The latest such attack took place this past Thursday (10-25), in which 2 airstrikes hit a field hospital and an ambulance near Tripoli, killing a paramedic.
The Tripoli government said it had given all medical facility coordinates to UNSMIL representatives to ensure those would be avoided in the fighting. It blamed UNSMIL for passing on that information to LNA forces who were purposefully targeting those areas. The UN denied such allegations.
Over 40 asylum seekers protested last week at a UN refugee facility in Tripoli, claiming the UN rejected their refugee relocation requests, including women and children, who were being held in Libyan refugee detention centres. Those rejected were being hosted at UN transit centres (Gathering and Departure Facility – GDF) in Tripoli, and said they were asked to leave. Al Jazeera reports that this was the first time the UNHCR rejected relocation requests, and that at least 87 such requests were rejected last week.
The UNHCR responded, that there “are simply not enough evacuation and resettlement places” in third counties. It also claimed that it had not forced anyone to leave the GDF. The UN established the facility to house “particularly at risk” individuals, who are subject to a variety of human rights abuses. The UNHCR says there are over 5000 refugees being held in official facilities in Libya. Those asked to leave, it noted, were done so in order to make room for more vulnerable refugees from other facilities. The UN has managed so far to evacuate or resettle 1663 refugees from Libya this year, only a small percent of those trapped in the country.
Human Rights group Amnesty International reports it has evidence that war crimes are being committed by both sides in the fighting in Tripoli. A report released Tuesday, the same day an errant rocket killed two children in their home, claims fighters are launching indiscriminate attacks with a “range of inaccurate explosive weapons” in urban areas, injuring and killing civilians. The report notes the use of “unguided rockets … modern drone launched guided missiles… that could amount to war crimes.”
Amnesty has been conducting its investigating since fighting broke out in Tripoli in April, visiting 33 sites where air and ground attacks took place. The report claims over 100 civilians killed or wounded and 100,000 displaced by the recent fighting, including the most lethal attack which hit a field hospital in July, killing 5 medical personnel and injuring more. According to Amnesty, neither side of the conflict agreed to respond to questions regarding these findings.
Amnesty called on the international community to uphold the UN arms embargo, which it claims Turkey, the UAE, Jordan and others are violating. UNICEF, the UN agency for children’s welfare, called on all sides “to refrain from attacks on civilian infrastructure, including … homes, schools, hospitals and medical facilities.”
The continuing conflict in Libya is impacting the health & welfare of the average Libyan in a way that many people aren't aware of outside of the capital city.
Since the offensive by LNA forces at the beginning of April, Tripoli's sanitation services have been cut-off from the region's main landfill, some 50 km. outside of the city. This has led local authorities to dump the city's rubbish at a makeshift site on the outskirts of the city still under GNA control.
The haphazard nature of the garbage dumping has created a sanitation crisis for nearby residents, who worry about a negative impact on their health. Some locals have described the growing garbage piles as being "higher than passing cars".
While collection & disposal have continued unabated in Tripoli's wealthier neighbourhoods, they have become increasingly less frequent in other parts of the city. This has resulted in many residents dumping their household waste on the streets. The problem has progressed to the point that some people have taken matters into their own hands, standing guard over their homes to ensure no one illegally dumps trash in their vicinity.
While life has continued with less disruption during the current fighting than one might expect in certain areas, the growing garbage crisis is beginning to take its toll. Civilian infrastructure in the capital is growing increasingly strained, and it is only a matter of time before a breakdown.
Outside the GNA’s headquarters in central Tripoli, displaced people try to catch the attention of officials at the entrance gate. “All I need is a rent to survive with my family. I’m not asking for the impossible,” one women told guards earlier this month.
Most of the newly displaced are women, children or elderly, said Yousef Galala, state minister of internally displaced people’s affairs. The GNA had allocated 120 million Libyan dinars ($85.7 million) in aid, and was considering an additional 100 million, he said.
But displaced families living in cramped huts at a shelter located in a disused factory in Tripoli’s eastern suburb of Tajoura said they had seen no sign of the aid. “We fear severe shortages of food and medical supplies since the length of the conflict is draining our reserves,” said Mohamed al-Shukri of the Tripoli Red Crescent, whose volunteers work in 35 such shelters.
Conditions at shelters that have sprung up across Tripoli are tough. At another shelter in a dilapidated state-run hotel near Tajoura, a mother carried a toddler in her arms. “I can’t leave my daughter walking alone because of broken banisters, and look at the windows,” she said, pointing at empty panes. “What will we do in winter in such conditions.”
Rwanda has offered African Migrants in Libya the chance to relocate and live a better life.
The East African country says it would provide the migrants scrambling for greener pastures in the war-torn North African country work permits and freedom of movement in an effort to lure them out of current predicaments.
According to sources with knowledge of the development, Rwanda had also agreed to provide the migrants access to education and identification documents. Human Rights advocates have welcomed the commitment of the Rwandan government to be held with the inhumane migrant situation in Libya. “The embassy also assured the congress officials that all refugees in Rwanda would have protection and that nobody would be forcibly repatriated,” an official told The EastAfrican.
The deal would answer two main concerns of human-rights groups—free movement and protection of the refugees and it is not clear if the relocation would be on a permanent or temporary basis.
Five hundred refugees are expected to relocate from Libya under the deal but Rwanda said it could take as high as 30,000 under an “emergency transit mechanism” funded by the EU and the UN.
The EastAfrican reports that Rwanda is working out the final details with UNHCR and the Libyan government and the country is “ready to go as soon as they get the green light.”
There are at least 641,398 migrants who originated from more than 39 countries currently present in Libya. They were identified in all 100 municipalities, within 565 communities, according to the 25th round of the International Organisation for Migration’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) data collection, which took place in March, April and May 2019.
A charity that operates a rescue ship carrying more than a hundred migrants off the coast of Italy on Sunday said that it could not accept an offer from Spain to dock in Algeciras, citing an emergency situation on board.
The migrants, most of whom are African, were picked up by the Open Arms boat off the coast of Libya and have been waiting to disembark on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa.
“We do not accept Spain as a port to go because we are in a state of extreme humanitarian emergency. What they need is to be disembarked now,” Open Arms’ spokeswoman said.
“It is unthinkable to navigate for six days; that is what it would takes for us to arrive to Algeciras.”
‘We are in a state of humanitarian emergency,’ Open Arms’s Laura Lanuza said.
After the charity rejected the plan to go to Algeciras, in southern Spain, the Spanish government offered the captain of the boat the option to dock at the nearest Spanish port, but the prime minister’s office said the government had not received an answer, Reuters reported on Sunday evening.An Open Arms spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters that the boat still had not answered Spain’s proposal.
France has offered to take in 40 people from the Open Arms, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told AFP on Sunday.
At least four migrants, wearing life vests, jumped into the sea to try to swim to the Italian island of Lampedusa. Open Arms founder Oscar Camps tweeted a video of the attempt, saying: “We have been warning for days, desperation has its limits.”
Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Saturday reluctantly authorised 27 migrant children rescued at sea to disembark from the charity vessel anchored in limbo off Lampedusa for days.
In a letter, Salvini told Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte he could authorise the “alleged” minors to leave the Open Arms ship despite it being “divergent to my orientation”.
However, the remaining 105 adults and two accompanied children must stay on board in what the charity Proactiva Open Arms said were “untenable” conditions.