Shattered lives: Civilians suffer from the use of explosive weapons in Libya

1. Introduction

Violence and conflict in Libya since February 2011 have had a grave impact on the civilian population. In particular, the widespread use of explosive weapons by Government forces and armed groups in cities, towns and villages has resulted in the death and injury of thousands of civilians, destroyed livelihoods and essential infrastructure, and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

This briefing paper illustrates the heavy price that civilians have paid for the explosive violence in Libya through personal accounts of victims and their families. This paper is not intended to provide a detailed or systematic analysis of explosive violence in Libya. Rather, it seeks to show general trends in the use of explosive weapons in Libya since 2011, and to highlight the devastating impact that such use has had on the civilian population. The intensity of armed violence in Libya and limited access on the ground make it particularly challenging to capture the full scale of ongoing explosive weapon use in the country. Further research is recommended to assess the full extent and impact of explosive violence in Libya, particularly during 2014 and 2015. This paper concludes by making general recommendations aimed at strengthening the protection of civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, in Libya and elsewhere in the world.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

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