Representatives and activists from Benghazi call for peaceful dialogue to enable the safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons to Benghazi
Tunis, 11 July 2018 - A group of internally displaced persons (IDPs), activists, civil society organizations members and some representatives of those displaced from Benghazi attended a two-day consultative meeting in Tunis to discuss the future dialogue process. UNSMIL and UNDP facilitated the consultations as part of the project “Towards National Reconciliation in Libya,” which acts in support of local dialogue processes and mediation efforts throughout Libya. The meeting was the first in a series of consultations with various stakeholders, in the West and in the East concerning the return of IDPs from Benghazi.
Since May 2014, an estimated 13,000 families (about 100,000 people) have fled Benghazi for elsewhere in Libya or abroad. Many settled in Tripoli, Misrata, and Zliten while others left the country. Very few have been able to return to their homes.
During the two-day meeting, participants identified the main causes of displacement, including the perception of being associated with the Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council (BSRC), expressing political opinions, a fear of reprisals, conflict over land and property, or the lack of services and opportunities. They stressed everyone’s right to return in a safe and dignified manner, freedom of movement, the right to non-discrimination and the right to not be deprived of one’s property. Discussing the main obstacles to their return and the possible modalities of a future dialogue, participants also identified issues relating to education, the civil registry, security, and accessing their salaries as some of the main factors rendering current living conditions difficult for IDPs from Benghazi, and making return and, eventually, reconciliation, even more necessary.