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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Libyan Mine Action Centre (LibMac) and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) are deeply concerned about reports that residents of the Ain Zara and Salahuddin areas of Tripoli have been exposed, killed and wounded by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) placed in and near their homes.
Children and adolescents are particularly exposed and at risk of Explosive Ordnance and those who survive a blast are likely to experience serious physical, psychological and social problems and may have their life chances affected by the consequences of the incidents. Explosive Ordnance, including landmines and Explosive Remnants of War, are often attractive and not easily identifiable, and children’s inherent curiosity, mobility and love of play makes them unintended targets. UNICEF is working closely with LibMAC, UNMAS and other partners to ensure that conflict-affected communities, particularly children, adolescents and their caregivers, receive Explosive Ordnance Risk Education to mitigate the likelihood of incidents and injuries and promote safe behaviours.
The UNICEF Special Representative in Libya, Mr. Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, stressed that all parties to the conflict must abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law and the Convention on the Rights of the Child to protect children at all times. “Children in Libya are increasingly among the most impacted by the ongoing conflict and there is a lack of accountability for grave violations committed against children”, he added.
In 2020, UNICEF and partners reached over 18,500 children and caregivers with school and community based Explosive Ordnance Risk Education during emergency relief distributions, in addition to TV and radio broadcasting.
LibMAC initiated a campaign through local media to keep displaced persons from returning to their homes and stay away from the danger of mines, Explosive Ordnance and booby traps. They were urged not to listen to rumors that incite return, but rather allow task forces to secure their homes of dangerous items in order to ensure a safe return later in the future. The campaign advocated for security agencies to cooperate with teams working to close all corridors and roads leading to contaminated neighborhoods until they are cleared.
UNMAS, together with UNICEF and other partners, provided Risk Education sessions for children and adults, and conducted clearance of Explosive Ordnance in Tripoli, Misrata, Tawergha, and Benghazi to prevent accidents, as well as the misuse of Explosive Remnants of War in the production of IEDs. In addition, UNMAS trained 32 male and female Forensic Police Officers in Device Scene Incident Management in 2019 to develop capacity to assist the prevention and judicial prosecution of IED attacks.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child; in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information, contact Alla Almsri, Communication Officer, UNICEF Libya +218 91 00 12 129, Aalmsri@unicef.org
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org
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United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) works to eliminate the threat posed by mines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices by coordinating United Nations mine action, leading operational responses at the country level, and supporting the development of standards, policies and norms.
For more information, contact Aurore Souris, Programme Officer, UN Mine Action Service, Department of Peace Operations (DPO). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org|unmas.org | FB:UNMAS |Twitter: @UNMAS |Instagram: un_mineaction |
Source: UN Children’s Fund