UN rights wing urges calm, protection of civilians amid hostilities in eastern Libya

14 March 2017

Raising alarm over reports of serious human rights and humanitarian law violations and abuses stemming from recent fighting in eastern Libya's oil crescent area, the United Nations human rights arm has called on all parties to ensure that civilians are protected and that the situation is de-escalated.

“Credible reports suggest that unlawful killings, including summary executions, hostage-taking, arbitrary detentions, torture, as well as widespread raids of civilian homes have been occurring, particularly in the towns of Ajdabiya, Benghazi, Brega and Beishir,” Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) told the media today at a regular news briefing at the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG).

“We urge all parties to the conflict to fully respect international human rights and humanitarian law and to take all possible precautions to ensure civilians are not harmed and to treat all detainees humanely,” she added, urging all those with influence to work to de-escalate the situation.

Quoting reports, the spokesperson said that two Libyan National Army (LNA) fighters were summarily executed at a medical centre in the Ras Lanuf on 3 March.

In response, the LNA conducted widespread raids of homes of presumed Benghazi Defence Brigade (BDB) supporters or fighters and detained some 100 men and boys, including some as young as 13 and some in their 70s.

The 13-year-old was held in order to “force” the family to hand over his older brother, who was suspected of being a fighter aligned with the BDB. LNA fighters also allegedly beat and insulted men and women, and stole money and other property from the houses.

“Those detained are being held incommunicado, and many families have said they have no information on the whereabouts of male relatives who have been detained,” said Ms. Shamdasani, adding that there have also been reports that those detained have been subjected to torture and threats.


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