UN: 250,000 have fled fighting in Libya

[JURIST] Militia fighting in Tripoli and Benghazi have forced 250,000 people to flee [press release] over the last four months, the UN reported [text, PDF] Thursday. According to the report, released by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the UN Human Rights Office, approximately 150,000 people have fled the country altogether, while 100,000 remain internally displaced. Warring militias have reportedly turned populated Libyan areas into war zones, endangering the lives of civilians. The violence has also led to power cuts and water shortages, disrupting the lives of those in the two cities. The report claims that many of the displaced are Tawergha, who were targeted by the Islamist-allied Misrata militia for their support of Muammar Gadhafi's forces in the 2011 uprising [JURIST backgrounder].

Libya remains politically unstable three years after the 2011 uprising and subsequent civil war that deposed former dictator Gaddafi. Last month UNSMIL released a statement that recent violence between Libyan political factions has been alarming and unprecedented in its gravity [JURIST report]. In a May briefing to the UN Security Council, International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] said that Libya faces a deep political crisis and serious security challenges [JURIST report], inhibiting its ability to rebuild itself as a modern democratic state. Last August the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] filed criminal charges [JURIST report] in the deadly attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. The sealed complaint was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington [official website] against an unspecified number of individuals.

 

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