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WHO Libya biweekly operational update (16-31 August 2020)

Situation Report
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General developments: political & security situation

On 21 August, Prime Minister (PM) al-Sarraj and House of Representatives (HoR) Speaker Saleh issued separate statements calling for a ceasefire. As President of the Presidency Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA), al-Sarraj “instructed all military forces” to cease hostilities. The statement stressed that an “effective” ceasefire required the demilitarization of Sirte and al-Jufra and called for the resumption of oil production and exports, as well as the accumulation of revenues in a dedicated external account of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) at the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), available for use by the Libyan authorities after the conflict is settled. The PM also reiterated his call for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in March 2021 on the basis of an agreed constitutional framework. Acting SRSG Williams welcomed points of agreement in declarations by Prime Minister al-Sarraj and HoR Speaker Aquila Saleh calling for a ceasefire. Key military and political actors in the East and West dismissed the calls for a ceasefire. International reactions were overwhelmingly supportive.

GNA affiliated armed groups appeared to be vying for territorial control and areas of influence in the capital.

IOM and UNHCR called for urgent action after at least 45 die in largest recorded shipwreck off the Libyan coast in 2020.

UNSMIL continued receiving information on migrants and asylum-seekers being subject to exploitation, forced labor, torture and ill-treatment, enforced disappearance, extortion and lack of food and access to health care.

IOM/DTM published the Migrant Round 31 (May-June 2020) data collection, in which at least 600,362 migrants of over 46 nationalities were identified in Libya.

Over the week, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) returned 285 migrants and asylum-seekers to Libya including 74 people (24 children and two women) to Tripoli on 18 August. As of 23 August, 7,127 refugees and migrants have been registered as rescued/intercepted at sea by the LCG and disembarked in Libya.

The frequency of the protest in Libya has been consistent for the last week of August. The demonstrations are characterized with blocking of roads and burning of tires. A number of protesters have been arrested while some are injured. In Tripoli, local security forces had blocked some roads and established checkpoints to deter the protesters from marching towards the venue of demonstrations despite the imposed curfew. There had been heavy deployment of security forces.


WHO statement: WHO alarmed over rapidly escalating rates of COVID-19 in Libya

Tripoli, Libya, 26 August 2020 – Over the past 2 weeks, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Libya has more than doubled. Given the acute shortages of tests and laboratory capacity, the real number of cases is likely to be much higher.