Conflict

Children have become the main victims of the war in Libya

North Africa

Children in Libya have suffered terrible abuses throughout the civil conflict at the hands of people in positions of power.

Since the fall of Muammar al-Ghaddafi in 2011, Libya has been embroiled in a long-lasting civil conflict that has been continuing until today. Vulnerable groups in Libyan society have fallen victim to the atrocities and destructive side-effects of the war, of which children have been the most susceptible.

UNICEF has estimated that at least 378,000 children are in urgent need of humanitarian aid in Libya, out of a total of approximately 1.1 million people who require help.

There are several accounts of young children being subject to various abuses by men in positions of power in Libyan society, including those in certain religious and educational institutions. Reports of grave abuses such as torture, beatings and sexual harassment cases have been widespread.

There was also a recent case that captured the headlines in Libya and spread shock waves across the country. A number of children had been captured and held ransom by a criminal group for over 2 years. The children’s captivity ended in their deaths.

54% of the 170,000 people displaced in the country are said to be children, with many living in dire conditions without support. Only 64% of these people have access to drinkable water sources.

International and non-governmental organisations have been heavily involved in alleviating certain aspects of the humanitarian crisis in Libya. The United Nation’s Coordinator for Libya, Maria Do Valle Ribeiro, stated that $313 million is needed to provide lifesaving assistance to 940,000 people this year. As a result of this, Ribeiro launched the 2018 Libya Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) in order to raise funds to provide this assistance to the nearly 1 million Libyans suffering from life-threatening issues.

There has also been a strong emphasis on solving the political discord in Libya, as a means of stabilising the state of security in the country. The country is currently divided into three general regions, administered by different factions. The UN has sought to help Libya to organise national elections in which candidates would represent their regions, but within a national framework.

Image: Al Jazeera