The Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Stephanie Williams has strongly condemned Tuesday’s repeated shelling on Ain Zara, including the Al-Ruwaimi prison by Khalifa Haftar’s militias.
Williams blamed the attacks on Haftar’s forces, saying they had resulted in a number of injuries, reportedly including among inmates, prisoners and judicial police officers.
She called in a statement late on Tuesday for an immediate halt to the shelling on the prison and the area where the prison is located, to avoid mass casualties among prisoners and prison guards.
“Despite the calls by many UN Member States, UNSMIL and the Secretary-General for an immediate cessation of hostilities to enable joint approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic, armed clashes, shelling, and mobilisation of forces in Libya continue, with unacceptable disregard for the safety and wellbeing of the civilian population.” Williams remarked.
She added that in the past 48 hours, UNSMIL documented more than 13 violations of the humanitarian pause, which resulted in the killing of at least three civilians and injuries to others.
Williams also urged Libyan authorities to release all prisoners who are arbitrarily detained, and consider releasing pre-trial prisoners, and in particular, women, children, persons with disabilities, migrants and refugees in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.
She reiterated her call on all parties to the conflict in Libya to respect international human rights and humanitarian law, to abide by the commitments they have publicly made to halt all military operations, and to put the interests of their people and communities first, above any other considerations.