New York, NY, June 2, 2020 — Welcoming the news that talks on a ceasefire in Libya will resume, Tom Garofalo - Country Director for the International Rescue Committee in Libya - said:
“A ceasefire in Libya is long overdue and must start immediately. Since April 2019, more than 400 civilians have been killed as a result of the fighting, and they continue to be the ones paying the highest price for the conflict: just on Sunday, five more people lost their lives as shells fell on the capital, Tripoli – yet another example of the indiscriminate nature of the attacks that have become a deadly hallmark of this conflict.
“Almost 150,000 people have been forced to flee their homes over the past year, and thousands more fear for their lives each day. Hospitals have also come under attack – not only in clear violation of international humanitarian law, but also at this current time in history, severely compromising the ability of the country to respond to the global pandemic.
“We welcome the news that ceasefire talks will soon resume. However, this must not turn into another short-lived pause in hostilities to fuel further fighting. For lasting peace to take effect, parties on the ground and their international supporters must back these negotiations and commit to finding a political solution. It is encouraging to hear that the Berlin process has not been abandoned, and we hope this news will also help to refocus international efforts on bringing peace to the country.”
Since August 2016, the IRC has provided emergency and reproductive health services in western Libya. The IRC is one of the few international organizations with a direct presence in Libya with two offices in Tripoli and Misrata. As Libya continues to endure political instability and widespread violence, the IRC is focused on: providing critical healthcare in hard to reach places in western Libya, providing life-saving medicines to primary health clinics, where possible, providing a referral pathway for patients in urgent need, renovating primary health clinics which have been damaged during the civil war, deploying experienced social workers to provide case management and psychosocial support in communities impacted by the conflict.
The IRC has launched a US $30 million appeal to help us mitigate the spread of coronavirus among the world’s most vulnerable populations. We are working across three key areas: to mitigate and respond to the spread of coronavirus within vulnerable communities; protect IRC staff; and ensure the continuation of our life-saving programming as much as possible across more than 40 countries worldwide.
The IRC is supporting the Libyan COVID-19 response with training of front-line health workers and the provision of additional isolation units. Our health staff are part of the five Rapid Response Teams the Ministry of Health has created to carry out initial assessments of suspected cases and tracing of their contacts. With most public health facilities closed in Tripoli and Misrata due to a lack of capacity, our mobile support to the Ministry of Health is proving vital in reaching vulnerable communities in this response.
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