By Sami Zaptia.
London, 30 July 2020:
Between 1 April and 30 June 2020, UNSMIL documented at least 358 civilian casualties (106 deaths and 252 injuries) in Libya from armed conflict. It said, in its latest report, that this figure represents an overall increase in civilian casualties of 173 per cent compared to the preceding period in the first quarter of 2020 with a 65 per cent increase in deaths and 276% increase in injuries.
The report said the victims include 261 men (deaths and injuries), 45 women (deaths and injuries), 44 boys (deaths and injuries), and eight girls. Ground fighting was the leading cause of civilian casualties, followed by explosive remnants of war, and airstrikes, it explained.
UNSMIL renewed its call for all parties to the conflict to immediately halt all military operations and respect international human rights and humanitarian law, to protect civilians and allow the authorities to respond to the threat of COVID-19.
It said that the overall increase in civilian casualties was driven by a major escalation of hostilities, despite the calls for a cessation of hostilities by the United Nations and many UN Member States.
UNSMIL said it remains very concerned by the indiscriminate attacks and targeting of civilians in civilian populated areas and the increase in civilian casualties particularly from the use of rockets and artillery, explosive remnants of war and airstrikes.
It will be recalled that since that report, fighting has in fact stopped in western Libya with a de facto ceasefire line now just west of Sirte. Most casualties/deaths are now as a result of booby traps, IEDs and unexploded remnants of war.