Monday 21 September 2020
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Libya: Euro-Med Monitor s New report: Sirte’s mines: Suspended killing [EN/AR]

Country: Libya Source: Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor Please refer to the attached file. Geneva- Repeated explosions from mines planted in and around two of the most populous cities in Libya, Tripoli and Sirte, pose a serious risk for residents, warns the Geneva-based Euro-Med Monitor. In a brief report, Euro-Med Monitor highlighted the influence of the Russian mercenary group known as Wagner and the allied forces under the command of Lieutenant Khalifa Haftar. The group has planted a significant number of landmines in nearby Sirte and the roads leading into and out from the south and west. Even after active fighting has died down, the mines cause ongoing injuries and deaths among unsuspecting residents. Over the past few months, these explosions have killed or injured about 160 persons, including mine-clearance workers, found Euro-Med Monitor. The think tank documented various types of landmines in use. Some explode when pressure is exerted on their wires, such as by travelers feet (commonly called anti-personnel mines). Others work as a catalyst when they come into contact with more dangerous explosives. A third type are known as anti-tank mines. All of the mines are linked to electrical timing devices, allowing them to be triggered at the desired time. And they all cause death or permanent, catastrophic disabilities. Since April 2019, two parties in Libya have fought over governance of the country. The internationally recognized party is the Government of National Accord, whose forces are led by Fayiz Al-Srraj. The other party includes both Libyans and mercenaries from countries such as Sudan, Russia and Chad. Sirte has been afflicted by mines and bombs for more than four years. In 2016, before it withdrew, the Islamic State (also called Daesh) planted hundreds of mines in the houses and on the roads of the city. This was part of a military operation known as The Battle of Sirte, waged between Daesh and the Libya Shield Force, another armed militia. The Euro-Med report documented eyewitness statements about the mines in Sirte. Ahmed Ibrahim a pseudonym, because he was afraid to give his real name said, We found a lot of mines inside the city, and I warned all the residents that both Naher Road in the west and Wadi Jaref Road in the south are mined. So is al-Rawagha Road, between Siret and Jufra districts. Libya is among the countries with the most weapons stored while unmonitored. The stockpile is estimated at 150,000 to 200,000 tons, according to the United Nations. Euro-Med Monitor reminds governments that international law, several U.N. conventions and accepted legal principles proscribe the planting of military mines and consider it a crime, requiring accountability. Euro-Med also points to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (also called the Ottawa Convention of 1997). The convention prohibits the use of anti-personnel mines and calls for their destruction, whether stored or planted. The think tank calls on Libya to officially accede to the Ottawa convention of 1997. It also calls upon the United Nations to open an international investigation into the use of landmines in Libya. All perpetrators, including governments and militias, should be held criminally accountable. Finally, Euro-Med demands that the warring parties revel the location of mines, allowing them to be cleared as soon as possible. The establishment of a s fund to support the clearing and demining of the areas most affected would go a long way toward allowing the restoration of calm, along with compensation of victims.


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