UNSMIL Condemns Escalation in Warshafana, Calls for Safeguarding Neutrality of National Institutions

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11 April 2015 – The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemns the grave escalation in hostilities in western Libya in recent days, particularly in the Aziziya area in Warshafana, a region whose towns have witnessed considerable destruction as a result of the intermittent battles that have taken place there.

The Mission also notes its grave concern over the hardship endured by the inhabitants of Warshafana, many of whom have been displaced, abducted and tortured, and they are in dire need of humanitarian aid. The Mission urges all parties to take all necessary measures to ensure the right of return for all those displaced from the area, and that none are illegally detained and prosecuted outside the scope of the law.

The Mission calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Warshafana and agreement on arrangements that would allow for a disengagement of forces in the area as a first step towards proper security arrangements to allow the residents to resume their normal day-to-day living.

The Mission commends the efforts to reach a ceasefire in the area and offers its good offices and the available technical expertise to assist the parties in bringing an end to the fighting. The Mission reiterates its warnings to the warring parties that the targeting of civilians could amount to crimes punishable under international humanitarian law.

At a time when significant progress is being made in the UNSMIL-facilitated Libyan political dialogue process with the aim of reaching a comprehensive resolution of the political crisis and military conflict in Libya, the Mission reiterates its call on all the parties in Libya to desist from taking any military actions or decisions that could constitute a provocation in the current environment of heightened tensions.

In this regard, UNSMIL calls on the parties to safeguard the national institutions by refraining from taking any steps that could compromise the neutrality of these institutions that are crucial for Libya’s economic survival.