Acting SRSG, Stephanie Williams, strongly condemns grave violations of humanitarian pause in Libya, calls for immediate halt to all military operations
TRIPOLI, 24 march 2020 - Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Stephanie Williams strongly condemns today’s repeated shelling Ain Zara neighborhood, including the Al Rwemi prison, reportedly by forces affiliated with the Libyan National Army. These attacks have resulted in a number of injuries, reportedly including among inmates, prisoners and judicial police officers. The Acting SRSG calls for an immediate halt to the shelling on the prison and the area where the prison is located, to avoid mass casualties among prisoners and prison guards.
Stephanie Williams Said, “Despite the calls by many UN Member States, UNSMIL and the Secretary-General for an immediate cessation of hostilities to enable joint approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic, armed clashes, shelling, and mobilisation of forces in Libya continue, with unacceptable disregard for the safety and wellbeing of the civilian population.”
“In the past 48 hours, UNSMIL documented more than 13 violations of the humanitarian pause, which resulted in the killing of at least three civilians and injuries to others,” Williams added.
The Acting SRSG urges the authorities across Libya to release all prisoners who are arbitrarily detained, and consider releasing pre-trial prisoners, and in particular, women, children, persons with disabilities, migrants and refugees in the context of the COVID 19 outbreak.
“The continuation of the fighting risks an undetected and out-of-control spread of the COVID-19,” the Acting SRSG warned. She reiterated her call on all parties to the conflict in Libya to respect international human rights and humanitarian law, to abide by the commitments they have publicly made to halt all military operations, and to put the interests of their people and communities first, above any other considerations.