UNSMIL Renews Calls for Immediate Cessation of Hostilities to Combat COVID-19


On Saturday, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) reiterated its call for the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Government of National Accord (GNA) to end all hostilities, sign a humanitarian truce and unify their efforts to address the threat posed by COVID-19.

It added that the continuous conflict shattered the hopes of many Libyans for a peaceful political transition through a National Conference that could have paved the way towards unifying the country’s long-divided institutions via parliamentary and presidential elections.

UNSMIL pointed out that the conflict has since escalated into a dangerous and potentially endless proxy war fueled by cynical foreign powers, which has now widened geographically with civilians paying the highest price.

It noted that at least 685 civilian casualties (356 deaths and 329 injured) were recorded since the beginning of Libyan conflict, stating that around 149,000 people in and around Tripoli have been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of the war and nearly 345,000 civilians remain in frontline areas with an additional 749,000 people estimated to live in areas affected by the clashes.

The UN mission went on to say that the war has also had an appalling impact in terms of damage to homes, hospitals, schools and detention facilities, confirming that human rights violations have exponentially increased with attacks against human rights defenders and journalists, doctors, lawyers and judges, migrants and refugees, and deteriorating conditions of detention.

It added that the one-year long war had also taken a heavy toll on an already struggling economy, noting that Libya is now heavily indebted with over LYD 100 billion in domestically held debt, another $1 billion in credit lines for domestic fuel imports and LYD 169 billion in outstanding contractual obligations.

“The oil blockade imposed on 17 January has already resulted in financial losses exceeding $4 billion.” It noted.

The mission also uncovered that the influx of foreign fighters and advanced weapons systems into the country continues unabated, and their use on the battlefield has directly led to an intensification of the conflict. Despite commitments made by all of the participants at the Berlin Conference, some of these countries have nevertheless continued to brazenly resupply one or the other side of the conflict, in a flagrant disregard of the arms embargo.

It also urged the Libyan parties to heed the calls made by United Nations Secretary-General Guterres, as well as many concerned Libyans themselves, to halt this war immediately.

UNSMIL and the UN agencies in Libya have spared no effort to address the devastating consequences the war has already inflicted. They are now working around the clock with the relevant Libyan authorities across the country to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNSMIL appealed all concerned parties to activate the humanitarian truce immediately and cease all military operations to allow Libyan authorities to respond to the threat of COVID-19. In addition, it called on parties to accept the ceasefire agreement proposed in Geneva, embrace the outcomes of the Berlin conference, implement UN Security Council Resolution 2510 and engage without delay in the three track UN-facilitated Libyan-led process (military, political, and economic).