“Paltry” 1 per cent of aid pledged to Libya, despite growing humanitarian crisis

Libya Channel

International donors have only pledged a “paltry” one per cent of the $166 million funding appeal launched to assist over one million Libyans affected by an 18-month civil war, the UN has said.

Just two donors came forward to assist the war-torn country, meaning the urgent appeal launched at the start of December had received only $2.1million, a minuscule  faction of what was needed.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Libya’s UN humanitarian coordinator, Ali Al-Zaatari said the amount requested in the first place was already small to assist a targeted population of 1.3 million people out of a total 2.4 million affected persons.

“Crudely put, the provision of life-saving assistance to affected persons by years of a debilitating and destabilising conflict equated to US$ 127 per person over a 15-month period (October 2015-December 2016),” he wrote in this statement.

“Now, more than six weeks after its launch, we find that this urgent appeal has received only US$ 2.1 million, a paltry 1% of the overall amount required. Just two donors have contributed funding,” he added.

Highlighting the “plunging “winter temperatures” and the lack of other sources of undoing, he said Libyan public and ciivl society handmade “ gallant “ efforts but were not enough to meet he demand of the many affected in the conflict.

Al-Zaatari applauded the international community for rallying around the  “nascent” Government of National Accord – a joint administration outlined in a UN-brokered peace deal both sides of the conflict signed in December. So far the consensus government has yet to secure the vote of the internationally-recognized Tobruk-based parliament the House of Representatives, needed to continue. Hardliners within the rival administration in Tripoli, have also rejected it.

The international community hope that the joint body will end a civil war and allow the warring factions to unite against bigger threats such as the encroaching Islamic State Group.

On Tuesday al-Zaatari commended and encouraged the support for the GNA but added:

” Vital humanitarian funding, however, is conspicuous by its absence.. We reiterate that a lack of funding for the humanitarian response will lead to additional miseries and human pain. I am appealing today to the international community, on behalf of the most vulnerable in Libya, for a hand up and not a hand out. The humanitarian situation needs to be addressed now,” he told. GNC

Conditions in Libya have massively deteriorated since the outbreak of the civil war in the summer of 2014, when armed coalition Libya Dawn swept control of the capital and formed a rival administration – forcing the official authorities to operate over 1500km to the east.

In 2015 the situation hit a new low, Human Rights Watch said in its latest report, that accused both sides of the conflict of carrying out war crimes and crimes against humanity with impunity.

“Forces engaged in the armed conflict flaunted international law by arbitrarily arresting people, torturing them, and indiscriminately shelling civilian areas and otherwise destroying civilian property in attacks that in some cases amounted to war crimes,” the New York Based group said in it sits report.

The arbitrary arrest, torture and long detainment of thousands of people, for some up to four years, without judicial review could constitute towards a crime against humanity they added.

It said that civilians “bore the brunt” of the crisis highlighting the misery that they were subjected two .

“[The fighting] has led to the displacement of 400,000 people, a breakdown in law and order, paralysis of the justice system, an increase in kidnappings for ransom and enforced disappearances, and the spread of extremist groups such as the Islamic State (also known as ISIS),” they said.

They highlighted the plight of tens of thousands of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers transited through Libya on their way toward Europe, facing perilous sea journeys.

Their comments followed a report into the firing of at least four rockets in to two camps for the internally space people in Benghazi on 9 January.

Two witnesses told Human Rights Watch that three rockets struck the Red Crescent Camp killing three civilians and wounding seven others, including two children. At least one rocket struck the adjacent Istijaba Camp, the witnesses said, causing material damage but no casualties. There is no military or militia presence in either camp, the witnesses said.

Meanwhile the  European Union urged Libya’s factions to support a joint government of face chaos.

“Libyan decision-makers will realize that there is no alternative to a unity government,” Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said Wednesday the EU hopes

Koenders, whose country currently chairs EU meetings, told EU lawmakers that “the alternative is simply chaos, a country on the brink of economic catastrophe.”

Koenders warned of the dangers posed by the Islamic State Group and uncontrolled migration, saying “the European Union is so close to Libya it is confronted with Libya’s threats.”

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