Friday, 29/5/2020 | 4:37 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire


TRIPOLI, A United Nations (UN) human rights report on Tuesday revealed that Libya's healthcare system is suffering from the armed conflict and violence, Xinhua news agency reported.

"Hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Libya have been bombed, shelled and hit by stray bullets. Parties in the armed conflict have failed to take feasible precautions to distinguish between legitimate military objectives and civilian objects," said the report published by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

The UN report recorded 36 attacks on medical facilities, personnel or patients between May 1, 2017 and May 1, 2018.

Medical workers in Libya have been assaulted, threatened and unlawfully deprived of liberty by armed groups, including those formally integrated into government ministries.

The medical centre in Sabha, some 800 km southwest of the capital Tripoli, was hit by shelling and gunfire 15 times between February and May, as a result of violent tribal clashes in the southern city.

Armed group members with AK-47 rifles damaged medical facilities and caused panic when they clashed in Al-Jala Hospital in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city on Nov 17, 2017.

On Feb 18, a woman in labour pains was held up by armed militants at a checkpoint in the eastern city of Danra, eventually leading to the death of the woman and her unborn child.

Armed groups have looted medical equipment, supplies, ambulances, air-conditioners and beds from hospitals and medical centres.

"Threatening doctors at gunpoint, attacking medical facilities, preventing the sick and injured from receiving treatment is utterly shameful as it affects the most vulnerable people in Libya.'

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said parties involved in the conflict must take measures to "minimise the impact of hostilities on civilians and civilian objects.

''Under international humanitarian law, the rights of the sick and injured must be respected in all circumstances. It is a war crime to willfully kill or cause great suffering or serious injury to their bodies or health," the report warned.

Libya has been suffering from escalating violence, chaos, and political division following the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

It also suffers from shortage of medical staff, lack of funding because of the ongoing economic crisis, forcing many Libyans to resort to highly expensive private clinics or medical services abroad.