Libya: UN envoy calls for safe evacuation of civilians caught up in Benghazi fighting
21 April 2016 – The head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) today called on all the warring parties in Benghazi to ensure that civilians are protected, also urging them to allow and facilitate the safe and immediate exit of all civilians who are trapped in areas affected by fighting.
"All civilians – man, woman or child, Libyan or foreigner – wanting to leave the areas of fighting in Benghazi must be allowed to do so as a matter of urgency," said Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the head of UNSMIL. "The warring parties must ensure civilians are free to leave and that their evacuation is safe. The wounded must be taken care of and everyone must be treated humanely, in line with international humanitarian law," he added.
Mr. Kobler reminded the warring parties of their obligations to respect the provisions of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. "All parties must ensure the protection of civilians in accordance with international law, and those who fail to do so must be held accountable," he said.
A large number of civilians, including Libyans and migrant workers, are trapped in areas of fighting in Benghazi, including the Ganfouda, Gawarsha and Marissa neighbourhoods. They face shortages of electricity, food, medical supplies and other necessities, in addition to the hazards of active fighting.
UNSMIL has long been seeking to arrange a humanitarian ceasefire in Benghazi that would allow all civilians wishing to leave to do so and facilitate the work of humanitarian organisations on the ground. So far, it has not been able to secure the agreement of the warring parties.
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