The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said that 19 people, including 14 children were killed by explosive remnants of war in Libya in 2022.
On the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, UNSMIL noted that this year’s theme, “Mine action cannot wait,” is particularly befitting in the Libyan context.
In a joint statement with the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), they confirmed that “despite strong efforts from mine action partners over the past decade, more than 15 million M² are still contaminated with explosive ordnances across Libya.”
The statement added that “the indiscriminate use of weapons in civilian areas, during the recent conflicts, means even urban areas are littered with explosive remnants of war. These remnants of conflict obstruct safe access to education, healthcare, and development, and continue to injure or kill long after the fighting has ceased, posing a daily threat to life and livelihoods.”
UN Envoy to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily said that “Mine action efforts are an essential component of Libya’s journey to peace and stability, coupled with reforms in the security sector to control explosive ordnance contamination, and the proliferation of weapons.”
“The threat posed to Libyan citizens undermines stability, and the right to a life without fear,” he added.
UNMAS Libya, together with the Libyan Mine Action Centre, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other mine action partners are working to remove these life-threatening items from schools, houses, farmlands, and hospitals. As well as to safeguard Libyans by increasing awareness of the explosive ordnance threat.
In 2022, partners in Libya removed 27,400 explosive ordnances in Tripoli, Misrata, Benghazi and Sirte.
The Libyan Mine Action Centre plans to officially commemorate the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action 2023 on 2 May 2023, post-Ramadan and Eid observations.