United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) statement on the situation in Bani Walid

20 Oct 2012

United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) statement on the situation in Bani Walid

Tripoli, 20 October 2012 - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Mr. Tarek Mitri, praises the huge efforts exerted by President Mohammad al-Magariaf, the General National Congress, as well as by civil society representatives and reconciliation committees, to prevent an outbreak of armed hostilities, and later, through political means, to put an end to various forms of violence.

SRSG Mitri expresses his concerns about the unfolding military developments in Bani Walid and reports of growing civilian casualties resulting from reported indiscriminate shelling.

SRSG Mitri urges all concerned to abide by international humanitarian principles, and reminds them of their obligations to ensure the protection of civilians and take all necessary measures to avoid the targeting of civilian areas, allow for the evacuation of all wounded, and to provide unimpeded humanitarian access, including provision of food and medical care. He also emphasizes the role and responsibility of the State in ensuring the security of all and extending its authority over its territory.

"In the interests of national reconciliation and long-term stability of the country, a mediated settlement is urgently needed," the SRSG said.

The SRSG added that in light of the publicly stated positions, the United Nations remains fully convinced that a comprehensive peaceful outcome is achievable. This includes the right of the State to fully assert its national authority over the city of Bani Walid through the deployment of units from the national army and police; the immediate and unconditional release of all detainees who continue to be held inside Bani Walid; the handover to the judicial authorities of all those wanted on suspicion of having committed crimes, along with guarantees for their security and fair trial; the resumption of all basic services to the city; and the holding of local elections in due course.

SRSG Mitri reaffirms the United Nations' readiness and commitment to work closely with all concerned to achieve a peaceful outcome. The United Nations Support Mission in Libya will continue to encourage all concerned to work towards a mediated settlement to the current crisis.