UNSMIL Statement on the Situation in Derna

1 Jun 2018

UNSMIL Statement on the Situation in Derna

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) calls on parties to the Derna conflict to exercise maximum restraint and ensure that they take all precautions to protect civilians.  The Mission reminds all parties of their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law to guarantee the protection of civilians, ensure unimpeded humanitarian access and facilitate the safe exit of civilians wishing to leave the city.   

The escalation of fighting in Derna has reached unprecedented levels during the past week, with fighting further encroaching into densely populated areas.  Since 16 May, at least 17 civilians, including two children, were killed and another 22, including seven children, were injured in the conduct of hostilities.  The number of civilian casualties was the highest in the past two days, with seven killed and another seven injured on 30 May in an explosion as they were attempting to leave the city. 

Humanitarian access to Derna is extremely limited.  Severe food and medicine shortages continue to worsen. Electricity and water are intermittently cut off for the approximately 125,000 residents.  On 29 May, limited medicine was able to reach the city, after persistent UN intervention.  On 30 May, tens of families were able to leave Derna through the Kirsa Checkpoint, despite delays.  However, this is not enough.  There needs to be a general easing of the encirclement of the city and a safe passage for civilians out of the area. 

The UN calls on all actors to permit unfettered and safe access of humanitarian workers and needed assistance. UNSMIL remains engaged with all parties in an effort to de-escalate the conflict.