UN urges for urgent protection of desert-stranded Tawergha IDPs in Libya
The UN Humanitarian organisations and partners in Libya are deeply concerned about the situation faced by Tawergha men, women and children who are unable to return home and currently living in makeshift-tented settlements with precarious conditions in Qararat al-Qataf and Hwara.
“Hundreds of people, wanting to exercise their legitimate right of return have been stuck in open areas under difficult weather conditions and without access to basic services for over three weeks,” said Maria Ribeiro, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya. “Their voluntary, safe and dignified return should not be delayed any further and Tawerghans should not be held hostage to the political crisis in the country,” she added.
The Tawerghan community was displaced in 2011. An agreement for the return and reparations was finally signed in March 2017 by the Tawargha and Misratan Dialogue Committees, both local Councils and the Government of National Accord. Following a decree in December 2017 from the Presidency Council to initiate the return process from the 1st of February, families from the East, South and West of Libya attempted to return to Tawergha, but they were blocked from doing so.
The Libyan authorities have the primary responsibility to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to IDPs within their jurisdiction and to prepare the conditions for their safe return, including the clearance of explosive remnants of war. The UN stands ready to support these efforts.
To date, UN agencies and Libyan and international partners have provided life-saving assistance including tents, hygiene items, winter clothing, water and food. In addition, health care support and equipment are also being provided through the Ministry of Health. But the harsh conditions and shortages of basic necessities continue to prevail on Tawergha families.
The UN is working closely with local authorities, the IDP ministry and other humanitarian organisations to provide assistance to Tawergha IDPs and urges all parties to the conflict to respect Humanitarian and Human Rights law to ensure the protection of civilians.