Libya

Libya: Saving lives and preventing disability

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Handicap International is stepping up its operations on the ground in Libya and taking daily action to raise the awareness of the populations at risk from landmines and unexploded weapons.

Landmines, used by military forces under the command of Col. Gaddafi in March this year, now pose a direct threat to the civilian population. The Libyan National Transitional Council has renounced the use of landmines (anti-personnel and anti-vehicle) and agreed to destroy the stockpile of these weapons. In a press release, the rebels committed that "no forces under the command and control of the Libyan National Transitional Council will use antipersonnel or anti-vehicle landmines." The Transition Council also pledged to "destroy all landmines in their possession" and to "cooperate in the provision of mine clearance, risk education, and victim assistance." The press release further stated that "any future Libyan government should relinquish landmines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty."

While strongly condemning the use of landmines, Handicap International welcomes these statements and urges Libya to sign the Mine Ban Treaty as soon as possible.

Handicap International is now stepping up its operations in Libya to raise the awareness of the population to the danger posed by mines and unexploded remnants of war. We are distributing 20,000 leaflets, 4,000 posters and 3,000 illustrated textbooks for children, to help people understand what to do when encountering these weapons or any unidentified device. We are also broadcasting radio adverts in Benghazi to reach out to the largest possible number of people.

Due to the lack of existing civil society organisations in Libya, Handicap International has partnered with the Scouts Movement. Twenty-three Libyan scouts, trained by Handicap International, are currently supporting our efforts in Benghazi, twenty of whom will travel to the border with Tunisia next week to inform displaced persons of the risks they run when coming into contact with mines or unexploded remnants of war.

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