Libya: UN urges humanitarian ceasefires, safe exit of civilians trapped in Benghazi

A girl looks out of her house window in Benghazi, Libya. Photo: UNSMIL (file)

11 March 2016 – The top United Nations relief official for Libya today called for humanitarian ceasefires and the safe exit of civilians trapped in fighting areas in Benghazi, following reports that many families, specifically in the Qanfouda and Qawarsha neighbourhoods, face shortages of electricity, food and medical supplies.

“The Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya calls upon all the warring parties to ensure the safe exit of all civilians who are trapped in areas affected by fighting and wish to leave. He urges all the parties to allow for humanitarian ceasefires in Benghazi to facilitate the work of humanitarian organization on the ground,” said a statement issued by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

The Mission also reminded all parties of their obligation to respect the provisions of international humanitarian law and international human rights law at all times. “UNSMIL specifically urges the parties to ensure the protection of civilians and allow for the provision of medical care to the wounded, including their safe evacuation where needed,” the statement added.

UNSMIL was established in 2011 by the UN Security Council at the request of the Libyan authorities to support the country’s new transitional authorities in their post-conflict efforts.

Across the country, it is estimated that 2.4 million individuals are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance and more than 40 per cent of the health facilities in Libya are not functioning.

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