UN “Deeply Concerned” About Unexploded Ordnance Deaths in Libya

UN "Deeply Concerned" About Unexploded Ordnance Deaths in Libya

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) expressed their deep concerns about the continued loss of civilian lives, due to unexploded ordnance in populated areas.

The two UN bodies said in a joint statement that another child tragically lost his life this week when he found and played with a grenade that was left behind by Libya’s warring parties.

“UNICEF and UNMAS are deeply concerned by the continued loss of civilian lives, especially children, from explosive remnants of war and urge all Libyans to be aware of the risks,” the joint statement said.

The statement revealed that three brothers were grazing their sheep in the suburbs of Tajoura, northwestern Libya, when they found the grenade. “The youngest, aged six, tried to collect it, causing an explosion and his tragic death. His two brothers, nine and 12, were severely injured, with one boy losing his hand.”

UNICEF Representative for Libya, Michele Servadei said “explosive ordnance will continue to endanger civilians for many decades to come, and in particular children.”

“We call upon all armed actors to stop the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and to put in place measures to protect civilians, in particular children,” Servadei said.

The Chief of the UNSMIL’s Mine Action Programme, Justin Smith revealed that at least 39 people have been killed or injured this year in incidents related to explosive remnants of war.

“Although this is a decrease compared to the 65 casualties in 2021, it is still too many. The risk to life of unexploded ordnance is real, and the challenge of clearing Libyan territory and raising awareness on the dangers remains,” Smith added.

The statement pointed out that, UNICEF and UNMAS are working with Libyan mine action partners to provide explosive ordnance risk education, to raise awareness of the dangers and risks of mines and unexploded ordnance. The statement called on Libyan authorities and the donor community to invest more resources to scale-up mine action activities.

According to the Humanitarian Response Plan, currently, 505,486 people are at risk of mines, unexploded ordnances, and explosive remnants of wars (ERW’s) in Libya.

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