Libya + 3 more

Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, 11 May 2020 - Libya, Lebanon and Syria

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And turning to Libya, I know I have been getting a lot of questions on the current situation, and I want to tell you that the Secretary-General strongly condemns any attacks on civilian populated areas. Last Thursday, two civilians were reported killed and three injured in the shelling of a residential neighbourhood in Tripoli. He also condemns the shelling of the Mitiga International Airport that took place on 9 May, and that airport is, as you know, the only functioning airport in Tripoli, civilian airport. The strikes reportedly damaged passenger aircraft, fuel storage facilities, firefighting trucks, the passenger lounge, and caused civilian casualties. The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has renewed its call for a truce during the holy month of Ramadan to allow for an effective and coordinated response to the pandemic threat facing all Libyans.

The Secretary-General urges the immediate halt of all military operations in order to de-escalate the situation and prevent an all-out conflict. He emphasizes that there is no military solution to the Libya conflict and calls on all parties to engage in immediate dialogue to reach a political solution. The Secretary‑General’s Acting Special Representative in Libya stands ready to facilitate that dialogue. UNSMIL will continue to document violations to be shared, where relevant, with the Panel of Experts and the International Criminal Court.


And from Jordan, where there are 540 confirmed cases of the virus, the Resident Coordinator there, Anders Pedersen, as well as the whole of the UN country team are working with the Government to address the pandemic. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is providing monthly cash assistance for 33,000 refugees, and they are also helping to fully staff the main hospitals and clinics in Zaatari and Azraq camps, which together host about 120,000 Syrian refugees. UN Women is providing cash to female Syrian refugees using blockchain technology. It is also working with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to distribute kits for babies. The kits are produced and sold by refugee women themselves. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is boosting sexual and reproductive health services in camps and supporting gender-based violence prevention and attention services.

For their part, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UNICEF and UNHCR are developing an emergency education plan, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has put remote-learning techniques in place for more than 118,000 Palestinian refugee students. The UN team in Jordan is also addressing the medium- and long-term socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19. The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are working with the Government to ensure food production — by working with farmers, protecting consumer prices and monitoring the levels of stocks and grains.


And turning to Syria, where we remain concerned by the impact of the COVID‑19 on people across that country, many of the displaced and particularly vulnerable. As of yesterday, 10 May, the Syrian Government had confirmed 47 cases, including 3 fatalities. WHO is leading UN efforts to support preparation and mitigation measures across Syria, including in the north-west and north-east. The focus is on enhancing the capacity to detect, diagnose and prevent the spread of the virus to the extent possible, and also to ensure adequate surveillance of entry points and to provide protective equipment and training to health workers. The UN is helping build testing capacity across Syria. Four laboratories have been established in Damascus, Lattakia and Aleppo Governorates and one in Idlib in north-west Syria. According to assessments, $385 million in funding is required in 2020 to address COVID-19 response across Syria. This is in addition to the $3.4 billion already requested for the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan.