Statement by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Libya, Maria Ribeiro, on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day
Civilians are not a target
Tunis, 19 August 2018 - This World Humanitarian Day, we continue to recognize the suffering of civilians caught in conflict and we celebrate the courage of humanitarian workers who strive to bring relief and care to those in need.
In Libya, many people find it hard to make ends meet and to provide the necessary sustenance for their families. Schools are damaged and children are missing out on education. Women and girls face serious risks of sexual violence. As medical workers try to help the wounded and sick, their capacity to operate is jeopardized by violence and threats.
According to the UN, in 2018, hostilities in Libya have already resulted in at least 130 civilian deaths and many injuries, including children. Civilians must be protected. All parties to armed conflict are obliged to distinguish between civilians and fighters, and between civilian objects and military targets.
Our shared humanity dictates that we protect and bring aid to those most vulnerable. We need to ensure their protection and meet the essential needs of civilians in Libya, including those internally displaced, migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers. This demands tolerance, respect for human rights and dignity.
It is crucial that all humanitarian staff can work in a safe environment so that life-saving assistance can reach people in need without delay in every part of Libya. Libyan humanitarian workers are often the first responders. I commend their strength and their courage along with other humanitarian workers in Libya and worldwide.
On this day, I call on all parties in Libya to do everything in their power to protect those most vulnerable, especially people caught up in conflict and to ensure access for humanitarian assistance.