Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya
22 November 2011
Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya
1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2009 (2011), in which the Council established the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) for an initial period of three months, to assist and support Libyan national efforts to restore public security and order, and promote the rule of law; undertake inclusive political dialogue, promote national reconciliation and embark on the constitution-making and electoral process; extend State authority, including through strengthening emerging accountable institutions and the restoration of public services; promote and protect human rights, particularly for those belonging to vulnerable groups, and support transitional justice; take the immediate steps required to initiate economic recovery; and coordinate support that may be requested from other multilateral and bilateral actors, as appropriate.
2. The report reviews the latest political and security developments in Libya and the activities of UNSMIL since the adoption of resolution 2009 (2011) on 16 September, provides an overview of the humanitarian situation, and assesses the continuing challenges facing Libya as it undergoes a historic transition.
II. Political and security developments in Libya
3. The declaration of liberation by the National Transitional Council of Libya on 23 October 2011 in Benghazi signalled the end of armed hostilities in the country, eight months after the Qadhafi regime attempted to suppress a peaceful movement parked on 15 February, when families held a protest calling for the release of a lawyer who was representing their claims in respect of the 1996 Abu Salim massacre. The fall of Sirte, which the Council had indicated in early October would trigger the declaration of liberation, and the death of Muammar Qadhafi on 20 October, came three days after Council forces announced the capture of the town centre of Bani Walid. These events followed weeks of intense street-to-street combat operations in both cities, and occurred against a backdrop of mounting pressure on the Council to achieve a decisive victory against heavily entrenched pro-Qadhafi forces and snipers in the two strongholds.
4. The declaration of liberation was widely hailed in Libya and beyond as marking a new beginning for the Libyan people, setting their country on the path to national reconciliation and the building of a modern nation-state, based on the principles embraced by the revolution: democracy, human rights, the rule of law, accountability, respect for minority rights, the empowerment of women and the promotion of civil society. In this context, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2016 (2011) on 27 October to terminate the no-fly zone and the provisions of resolution 1973 (2011) concerning the protection of civilians effective 31 October 2011.
5. With the declaration of liberation, the clock has started running on commitments made by the National Transitional Council in its Constitutional Declaration of 3 August 2011. In the latter, it was stipulated that the Council would relocate to Tripoli and establish an interim Government within 30 days; then, within a 90-day period, it would adopt electoral legislation and establish an electoral management body. Within 240 days, Libya would hold elections for a national congress, which would give democratic legitimacy to a new government and to the drafting of a new constitution. The constitution would be put to a popular referendum within 30 days of its adoption by the national congress, and Libya would proceed to its first elections according to the constitution.
6. On 31 October, having relocated to Tripoli, the National Transitional Council announced the appointment of Abdurrahim el-Keib as the country's new interim Prime Minister. Mr. El-Keib was selected by the Council from among nine candidates through a transparent voting process. He stated that he expected to form his Government within two weeks, within the 30-day period.
7. A major challenge continuing to face the National Transitional Council is the consolidation of security, particularly in Tripoli, where there are a large number of armed revolutionary "brigades". This challenge has been heightened by several confrontations that took place among various "brigades" during the last week of October and early November, which resulted in the deaths of several fighters and the wounding of police officers.
8. Despite the fact that the threat from pro-Qadhafi elements was largely confined to Sirte and Bani Walid following the fall of Tripoli on 21 August, a security breach on 14 and 15 October in neighbourhoods of the capital regarded as having supported the Qadhafi regime underlined the ability of such elements to undermine security arrangements in Tripoli, at least while Muammar Qadhafi remained at large. Two Qadhafi loyalists and one revolutionary fighter were reportedly killed in the incidents, which had been preceded by a number of drive-by shootings at various checkpoints in the city that week. Such incidents have not recurred since the death of Qadhafi.
9. To address these challenges, the new authorities have moved to bring the responsibility for the security situation in Tripoli under the umbrella of a Supreme Security Committee comprising three National Transitional Council members, pending the appointment of the new interim Government. Elsewhere in the country, local and military councils in a number of towns have taken initiatives to integrate existing revolutionary "brigades" into the structure of their military councils.
10. On 24 October, the day after the declaration of liberation, the Supreme Security Committee presided over a ceremony at which a number of brigades from Misrata handed over 500 light arms to the Ministry of the Interior. While limited in nature, the initiative was designed to send a public message that the handover of weapons by armed groups is a priority for the Council and the future interim Government. The same day, National Transitional Council Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil also announced plans for the creation of a commission whose main tasks would be to reintegrate fighters, provide support to the wounded and the families of martyrs, and develop plans for the collection of weapons. The commission was stablished by decree on 29 October.
11. While these initiatives represent only initial steps, they reflect a growing acknowledgement of the need for a gradual redeployment of brigades away from population centres, in parallel with agreed mechanisms being put in place to provide security in major cities and towns. There is broad consensus that all heavy weaponry must be removed from city centres immediately; this would be followed by light arms collections, as well as decisions regarding the future of the revolutionary fighters. Options under consideration include integration into the police and armed forces, an assisted return to civilian life, or possible reorganization as border protection forces or security companies charged with securing public facilities and oil installations.
III. Activities of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya
12. The challenges facing the Libyan people and the new incoming Government are extraordinary. While Libyan officials have made it clear that they see the United Nations as a key partner at this critical time in Libya's post-conflict transition, they have also stressed the importance of full Libyan ownership of planning processes related to the rebuilding of Libya. Detailed discussions on the longer-term role and engagement of UNSMIL are expected to commence once the new interim Government takes office. However, the rapid deployment of leading elements of UNSMIL has enabled it to begin engaging in priority areas of its mandate.
A. Electoral support
13. Electoral assistance is one of the key priorities of UNSMIL, given that the National Transitional Council is committed to a first election within eight months, a challenging timeline in a country where there has been limited or no electoral experience in over 45 years. To meet this timetable, and in accordance with the Constitutional Declaration, legislation stipulating all elements of the electoral process is to be adopted within three months of the 23 October declaration of liberation, along with the creation of an electoral management body. Libyans are faced with a number of key decisions that will require broad consultations, including with civil society, so that political consensus can emerge around the following: delimitation of electoral boundaries and seat allocation; election of individual candidates or party-based elections; voter and candidate eligibility; women and minority representation; and the establishment of a credible electoral management body. Other critical issues include the creation of a voter register and a robust voter and civic education programme, the importance of which has been repeatedly emphasized by Libyan interlocutors.
14. Since the beginning of its mandate, UNSMIL, supported by two visits from the Director of the Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political Affairs of the Secretariat, has held meetings in Tripoli, Benghazi and other towns with National Transitional Council members, representatives of the National Transitional Council political and legal committees and relevant subcommittees regarding the electoral process, in particular with respect to the electoral law and the future electoral management body. At the Libyans' request, UNSMIL deployed a legal/electoral systems expert to Benghazi to hold a series of meetings with the legal subcommittee tasked with formulating a draft law. UNSMIL provided information on various electoral systems and the implications of each.
15. To date, UNSMIL has discussed the necessary pre-conditions for the implementation of electoral activities and has emphasized the importance of broad consultations with civil society and other stakeholders. It has presented planning materials and comparative information on a variety of critical issues, including the electoral legal framework, the establishment of an electoral management body, the creation of a budget and related consultation processes. Once the designation of responsibilities for electoral matters is clarified by the National Transitional Council, UNSMIL's provision of advice is expected to intensify.
16. UNSMIL has also held preliminary meetings with the offices in charge of citizen registration, in order to advise the Libyan authorities on the database quality and the operational viability of the current system relevant to defining the framework necessary for developing a voter register. A comprehensive assessment of the quality of available population databases is needed as soon as possible in order to create an operational concept for voter registration processes.
17. In addressing Libyan requests for civic and voter education, UNSMIL, together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has undertaken initial steps to assist in the area of voter education and to advise on a consultation process for the electoral law. Additional United Nations agencies may be engaged in civic and voter education under the lead of UNSMIL. UNDP has held a series of meetings in Tripoli and Benghazi with academics, media outlets, religious leaders and civil society organizations on the development of proposals for a civic education outreach strategy. UNSMIL has also held meetings with women's civil society groups to discuss the needs of women relating to their participation in the elections and the political process. They underlined the importance of women having a role in the political process and in securing leadership positions in the future. The need for provisions within the election law to promote women's representation was also highlighted. Civil society discussions emphasized the importance of involving young people in decision-making, noting that they had fought on the front lines and were impatient for change.
18. UNSMIL has held discussions with other members of the international community, including non-governmental organizations, to prepare the ground for a coherent and coordinated approach to international electoral-related assistance.
B. Human rights, transitional justice and rule of law
19. Libya faces a heavy legacy of human rights violations from the Qadhafi regime, including decades of arbitrary detention, torture, arbitrary and extrajudicial executions and still unresolved disappearances. Added to this are the crimes against humanity, war crimes and other violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed during the conflict, initially described in the 1 June 2011 report of the International Commission of Inquiry mandated by the Human Rights Council and in the indictments of the International Criminal Court.
20. My Special Representative called on all sides to respect human rights as the battles neared their end and issued appeals, in support of those of the National Transitional Council itself, that there should be no revenge even against those responsible for war crimes and other grave violations. However, there were disturbing reports that killings amounting to war crimes had been committed by both sides in Sirte. On 20 October, Muammar Qadhafi was captured and killed in Sirte, along with his son and Minister of Defence. Video footage showed that the former Libyan leader was alive at the time of his capture. Following calls for an investigation by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and many in the international community, on 24 October National Transitional Council Chairman Abdel Jalil announced the formation of a commission of inquiry.
21. While political prisoners held by the Qadhafi regime have been released, an estimated 7,000 detainees are currently held in prisons and makeshift detention centres, most of which are under the control of revolutionary brigades, with no access to due process in the absence of a functioning police and judiciary. Sub- Saharan Africans, in some cases accused or suspected of being mercenaries, constitute a large number of the detainees. Some detainees have reportedly been subjected to torture and ill treatment. Cases of individuals being targeted because of the colour of their skin have been reported. There have also been reports of women held in detention in the absence of female guards and under male supervision, and of children detained alongside adults.
22. While the National Transitional Council has taken some steps towards transferring responsibility for detainees from brigades to proper State authorities, much remains to be done to regularize detention, prevent abuse, bring about the release of persons whose detention should not be prolonged and ensure that future arrests are carried out only within the law. UNSMIL has pressed these concerns with authorities, including members of the Supreme Security Committee, which has been attempting to address the responsibilities of the Prosecutor General, the police and the different revolutionary brigades operating in Tripoli, particularly in relation to arrests and detention. Several hundred detainees were reportedly released over the Eid al-Adha holidays in Misrata, the Nafusa Mountains and Tripoli.
23. The Tawergha community has faced reprisals for the role of its members in the attacks by Qadhafi forces on Misrata during the conflict and their alleged responsibility for war crimes. Tawergha are reported to have been targeted in revenge killings or taken by armed men from their homes, checkpoints and hospitals and, in some cases, allegedly abused or executed in detention. Members of the community have fled to various cities across Libya.
24. A one-week OHCHR mission to Libya was facilitated by UNSMIL in early October, in order to identify areas where United Nations assistance might be requested. The OHCHR delegation held a series of meetings in Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata on issues relating to the rule of law, in particular due process and detention, missing people, transitional justice and the role of women in the future political process. UNSMIL also facilitated a visit by staff of the International Commission of Inquiry to prepare for the members and investigators to return to Libya, as agreed with the National Transitional Council.
25. On 5 October, the National Commission for the Search and Identification of Missing Persons was established by decree. Its mandate covers clarifying the fate of all missing persons beginning from 1 September 1969, including revolutionaries, loyalists, mercenaries and others. The UNSMIL human rights team is in discussion with the Commission regarding potential international community assistance, including from the United Nations, in defining its institutional framework and in meeting its need for forensic and other expertise.
26. The acting Minister of Justice has made available to UNSMIL a draft law on transitional justice, based on the following four principles: establishing the truth behind violations of human rights; reconciliation among all members of Libyan society; ensuring that perpetrators of war crimes are put on trial; and compensation to victims. UNSMIL, advised by OHCHR, has offered to provide detailed comments on the draft law and has recommended that it be subject to consultation, including with civil society.
27. Under the former regime, the judicial system was characterized by corruption, inefficiency, lack of independence and the limited capacity of some of its members owing to insufficient training. Parallel institutions and contradictory legislative and regulatory fram works were prevalent. Many judges and lawyers have played leading roles in the revolution and are now seeking to build a reformed judicial system, envisaging United Nations technical assistance in this regard. UNSMIL has begun to identify immediate needs, in preparation for the appropriate needs assessment. The majority of courts in the country are not fully operational owing to the lack of adequate security at court premises and the continued absence from work of judges and administrative staff. Priorities include legislation regarding the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession, and specialized training for judges and prosecutors in order to deal with an array of post-conflict litigation, including on issues relating to transitional justice.
28. As a sign of its commitment to fiscal transparency and accountability, the National Transitional Council has established an independent audit authority in accordance with its Constitutional Declaration. It is envisaged as the main body responsible for addressing corruption and ensuring transparency in government. Officials of the audit authority have expressed an interest in United Nations assistance to assess the needs of the institution and provide required support.
29. Although it is the intent of the Libyan authorities to return full responsibility or public safety and order to the Ministry of the Interior as early as possible, the Libyan Police has not yet been able to resume this responsibility. Revolutionary armed groups have assumed the main responsibility for law and order throughout the country, without appropriate training and outside a proper legal framework. A significant proportion of Libyan police officers in the Tripoli area are said to have returned to duty, and are organized and led by experienced police managers. However, their presence on the streets remains limited mainly to regulating traffic.
30. UNSMIL police advisers have established working contacts with the management level in the police section of the Ministry of the Interior. Identified urgent needs include adequate provision of basic equipment, training and assistance in integrating some of the revolutionaries into the police. The relevant department head has expressed the need for "training for trainers" courses and assistance in reviewing the training curriculum and in preparing the Libyan Police for its responsibility for election security. Most of the police training institutes appear to be relatively structurally intact, but owing to looting, they lack training equipment and materials and furniture; with refurbishment, these institutes can become operational again within a few weeks.
D. Economic recovery and coordination of international assistance
31. Following the Paris Conference on Libya, held on 1 September 2011, the United Nations, together with the European Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international partners, agreed with representatives of the National Transitional Council on a framework for a coordinated needs assessment to assess transitional requirements. The assessment would be conducted under the leadership of the National Transitional Council, in accordance with principles of post-conflict needs assessment agreed among the United Nations, the European Union and the World Bank, and would be undertaken in an accelerated manner. The assessments of transition requirements would be structured around sectors, each of which would be led by a National Transitional Council focal point with the support of a designated lead international organization. The objective of the assessments would be to define critical transitional needs and responses, in line with timelines defined by Libya, and to ensure coherent and demand-driven international engagement.
32. At a consultative meeting held in Tripoli on 9 October, which was co-chaired by the acting Minister of Finance and my Special Representative, the Libyan representatives indicated that the coordinated needs assessment process should be deferred until after the formation of the new interim Government, in order to ensure that necessary counterparts are in place and that assessment objectives are properly aligned with national priorities and approaches. In this context, the Libyan side expressed a desire not to receive bilateral assessment missions outside the coordination process.
33. The timing of sectoral assessments as envisaged in the coordinated needs assessment, and the mechanisms for coordination among the Libyan authorities, the United Nations and the international community, will be discussed as soon as possible after the interim Government takes office.
34. In early October, the Libyan authorities welcomed a joint mission of the World Bank and IMF, facilitated by UNSMIL, to conduct fact-finding on macroeconomic developments, public financial management and public expenditure policies. The mission appreciated a very open and constructive dialogue with the Libyan authorities. It observed that the loss of hydrocarbon income has caused an extensive deterioration in the fiscal and external accounts. With the collapse in oil production and the temporary unavailability of income from assets subject to sanctions, Libya is grappling with a constrained and uncertain budget envelope for the 2011-2012 period. While Libya's economy is expected to benefit from a rapid recovery, uncertainties remain with respect to the security situation and the political process. Regarding public financial management, the mission identified two main immediate priorities, namely, 2012 budget preparation and cash management owing to the current liquidity situation. The authorities have also requested assistance to implement reforms in areas identified by the December 2010 IMF mission. The timing of follow-up technical missions is under discussion.
E. Public information and outreach
35. As manifested by the proliferation of newspapers and satellite news channels, a desire for freedom of the press and for the sharing of information has been prevalent from the outset of the revolution. Libyan interlocutors have identified the need for capacity-building in objective media reporting and have requested United Nations and other international assistance in this regard. In the light of the absence of media legislation, the Media Communications Committee of the National Transitional Council has signalled its intent to ensure the development of such legislation in order to ensure freedom of the press, while safeguarding the credibility and the integrity of journalism. It has developed plans to involve media law experts, journalists and other stakeholders in this process. At the request of the Media Communications Committee, UNSMIL is advising them on their own media strategy efforts.
36. The Public Information and Communication Section of UNSMIL launched its work by mapping the Libyan local press, particularly print media, as a preliminary step for designing a media outreach strategy for the Mission in preparation for upcoming voter education awareness campaigns for the electoral phases and other mandated activities. To explain the role of UNSMIL to the Libyan public at large, the section has been providing the local press with information on the mandate and activities of the Mission, which is also available at the UNSMIL website. In addition, the section provides media monitoring of local, regional and international press to UNSMIL and United Nations agencies, to keep them abreast of the latest developments.
IV. Arms and related material
37. A major security challenge confronting Libya and the international community is the threat posed by the proliferation of arms and related material, and its potential impact on regional and international peace and security. Of particular concern are existing and newly discovered stockpiles of chemical weapons and man-portable surface-to-air missiles, known as man-portable air defence systems. This concern has been reiterated by the Security Council in its resolution 2017 (2011).
38. Following a series of consultations in Tripoli on this issue, UNSMIL began facilitating informal coordination among the Libyan authorities, Member States providing or offering assistance, and the relevant international organizations, including the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This informal group serves, on a temporary basis, to facilitate information flows on actual or suspected chemical, nuclear or other non-conventional arms, material and sites, including security conditions at such sites, and on offers of assistance by international partners.
39. The National Transitional Council forces appear to be controlling all relevant chemical and nuclear material sites; centralized command and control remains a concern. Although IAEA has recognized the importance of verifying and safeguarding existing nuclear materials, its primary immediate concern is to account for nuclear material used for commercial and medical purposes. Regarding stocks of uranium fissile material ("yellowcake"), IAEA has noted that these do not pose a major proliferation concern or radiological hazard. Discussions with Libya are under way for possible missions by IAEA to cover both safeguards and nuclear security-related activities.
40. On 3 November, a team of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons carried out an inspection at the Ruwagha depot in the south-east of the country, the first since February 2011. It confirmed that the depot's full stockpiles of sulphur mustard and other chemical agents remained in place, and it took further measures to ensure the integrity of the stockpiles until destruction operations can resume under verification by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Importantly, however, two previously undeclared sites have been identified and secured by Libyan counterparts in recent weeks. The Libyan authorities officially notified the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons of the discoveries on 1 November, and that organization will continue to work with the Libyan authorities to verify and destroy any newly declared stocks.
41. Libya has accumulated the largest known stockpile of man-portable defence systems outside those countries that produce such systems. Although thousands were destroyed during the seven-month NATO operations, there are increasing concerns about the looting and likely proliferation of these portable defence systems, as well as munitions and mines, and about the potential risk to local and regional stability. Collaboration between the Ministry of Defence and international partners has led to the dismantling of large numbers of man-portable defence system sites across the country, particularly in the west. However, there are hundreds more suspected sites that remain to be inspected. While the support of the Libyan authorities in this regard has been critical to efforts already under way on this front, the formation of the interim Government should accelerate the process.
42. The extensive contamination of areas from landmines and explosive remnants of war across Libya continues to pose a serious threat to the civilian population, including internally displaced persons, and to humanitarian workers. To date, a total of 84 accidents caused by unexploded ordnance and mines have been reported. Large quantities of unexploded ordnance and ammunition stockpiles have been identified in residential areas, including in schools and hospitals. Stockpiles appear to have been moved into populated areas by Qadhafi forces to conceal them from potential airstrikes; they mostly remain unsecured and those in Sirte and Bani Walid in particular require immediate attention. The Joint Mine Action Coordination Team has coordinated the efforts of 10 clearance teams; to date, they have cleared a total f 53,010 items, including from 58 schools contaminated with explosive remnants of war, and have delivered risk education to over 20,000 direct beneficiaries.
43. Unsecured ammunition storage areas damaged by NATO bombings and the internal fighting represent another pressing problem. Over 440 such storage areas were bombed during the NATO campaign, in some cases leading to widespread contamination in the areas surrounding the sites. Although clearance of ammunition storage areas has been prioritized, only one team, currently operating in Tobruk, has so far been deployed, owing to limited resources and funding.
V. The humanitarian situation
44. The Libyan people have demonstrated exceptional resilience and a strong capacity throughout the conflict to meet the majority of the humanitarian needs of those affected. Across the country, local councils and communities have mobilized to support the humanitarian needs of internally displaced persons, with the assistance of national and international humanitarian partners. To support them, the Humanitarian Coordinator has taken steps to ensure that residual needs of vulnerable groups will still be met while the overall humanitarian effort in Libya is winding down.
45. As commercial activity has resumed, food commodities have become readily available, schools have reopened and essential services, including water and electricity, have been mostly restored. However, the lack of liquidity and increased prices have reduced purchasing power and have served to increase the food insecurity of the poorer and more vulnerable segments of Libyan society.
46. The return of displaced populations to Bani Walid and Sirte remains constrained by the continued lack of provision of such essential services as electricity, fuel, water and sewerage systems, the widespread contamination of areas with explosive remnants of war, the extensive destruction of property, and the lack of livelihood sources, as well as protection concerns regarding those perceived by Libyans to have supported the previous regime.
47. In addition, as at early November, over 150,000 people were estimated to remain displaced within Libya. In addition to those who fled from Bani Walid and Sirte, there are concerns about Libyan minority groups, including some 30,000 to 35,000 Tawergha who were displaced from their areas of residence following allegations of abuses perpetrated by some members of their community during the conflict.
48. There are also serious concerns about the plight of many third country nationals, notably migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, refugees and asylum-seekers, who have become more vulnerable to human rights violations and abuses. Their plight has been exacerbated by the lack of a legal framework for managing migration. To address their needs, a number of initiatives are being put in place by the National Transitional Council, supported by UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), including the establishment and refurbishment of the Towisha transit centre. In consultation with relevant authorities, IOM has resumed voluntary repatriation of these nationals to their countries of origin. However, the principal challenge remains verification of citizenship and the issuance of travel documents, since many third country nationals have no means of identification.
49. Hospitals are functioning, but they have been overloaded with the war wounded and, in some places, have struggled to cope with additional patient admissions amid shortages of trained staff. In areas where fighting took place, support is needed for the rehabilitation of the wounded and of persons with long-term physical disabilities, as well as for people with psychosocial and mental health needs resulting from the conflict.
50. Based on a series of assessments, the Humanitarian Coordinator has led the planning for a common humanitarian action plan to cover residual humanitarianneeds of vulnerable groups from 1 October to 31 December. The action plan also outlines the exit strategy for the phasing out of humanitarian assistance in preparation for the transition to recovery and development programming. The plan was presented to bilateral representatives in Tripoli on 27 October.
VI. Deployment of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya
51. Following the adoption by the Security Council of its resolution 2009 (2011), UNSMIL moved promptly to establish its presence on the ground in Libya. As at 31 October, a total of 43 international staff members, including the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (who is also the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator) and experts in substantive priority areas, had been deployed to Libya: 40 in Tripoli, and 3 in Benghazi. Three additional international mission support staff members were also deployed to Brindisi. Three national staff have thus
far been recruited. The United Nations country team is also gradually resuming its operations, in close coordination with UNSMIL.
52. On 22 October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs formally allocated a compound of offices for UNSMIL to use as its mission headquarters. A mission support team is currently preparing the compound for occupation by UNSMIL later in the year.
53. UNSMIL has held several constructive discussions with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the draft status of mission agreement, with a view to concluding the agreement upon the formation of the interim Government and the appointment of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
VII. Safety and security
54. The overall security situation in Libya is permissive for most of the country. Security levels in the country range from level 3 to level 6, with both Tripoli and Benghazi currently categorized as level 4 and Sabha and the south remaining at level 6. In Tripoli, there has been a significant reduction in the number of checkpoints. Although the security situation has largely stabilized, celebratory shooting has remained a concern. Since the declaration of liberation on 23 October, an average of three to five casualties per week have been reported by hospitals in Tripoli. Towards the end of the reporting period, a number of clashes among rival revolutionary brigades in the capital were reported, which resulted in the deaths of several fighters. Although there have been no incidents in which United Nations assets or personnel were targeted, the potential risk posed by the current security situation has thus far necessitated the use of armoured vehicles as the mandatory means of transport for personnel in Tripoli, limiting the ability of UNSMIL to support visiting missions.
55. Accompanied by the President of the General Assembly, I paid my first visit to the new Libya on 2 November, to congratulate the Libyan people on their liberation and to reiterate the Organization's commitment to assist and support their country's transition to democracy. In my meetings with Abdel Jalil, Chairman of the National Transitional Council, Prime Minister El-Keib and members of the National Transitional Council, I looked forward to their formation of an inclusive, representative government. I assured them of the commitment of the United Nations to assist as requested in their holding of elections and in their efforts to promote transitional justice and national reconciliation and to ensure public security, respect for human rights and the rule of law. I urged them to enhance the representation of women and to engage in consultation with civil society, including young people and women.
56. I conveyed these same messages in my meeting with civil society representatives and acknowledged the latter's critical role in the success of the revolution. I encouraged them to stand up for the above-mentioned principles, but to also exercise some flexibility and patience when expectations could not be met as rapidly as hoped.
57. I was deeply shocked by my visit to an agricultural warehouse in the Khallital- Ferjan neighbourhood of Tripoli, where elements of the Qadhafi regime had detained civilians in inhuman conditions, subjected some to torture, and massacred as many as they could and burned their bodies. The international community must support the efforts to establish the fate of missing persons and to bring the perpetrators with the greatest responsibility for these crimes to justice.
58. The challenge of national reconciliation is of overwhelming importance. Regrettably, my call and those of others for the remaining supporters of the former regime to cease fighting were not heeded, and the final weeks of conflict added to the death toll, serious injuries, civilian suffering, displacement, destruction and further violations. However deep the anger at the war crimes committed by the former regime, the National Transitional Council must continue its calls to avoid acts of revenge and must investigate abuses by its own fighters. I hope that the interim Government will move swiftly to reconstruct neighbourhoods that suffered destruction on either side of the conflict, from Misrata and Zawiya to Bani Walid and Sirte, and that it will enable displaced persons to return to their homes.
59. I believe that the leaders of the new Libya are truly committed to building a society based on respect for human rights. However difficult the circumstances, it is essential to take the earliest possible action to end arbitrary detention and prevent abuses and discrimination against third country nationals and against any group of Libya's own citizens.
60. The revolutionary fighters, many of whom are young people, have earned great respect. The international community must continue to give priority to medical treatment for the war wounded, and to the trauma suffered by so many, especially children and women. In addition, these fighters must be assured a future in new security forces or in civilian life, as Libya moves from multiple armed brigades to unified State security forces and brings weapons under control.
61. The new authorities are already inviting cooperation to address the securing and disposal of chemical weapons and nuclear material, as well as the proliferation of other weapons and ammunition. They will need continuing assistance in this task, and both Libya and its neighbours will require assistance in managing their borders and the flows of both weapons and people. The United Nations has undertaken to work closely with the African Union and other regional bodies to assist Libya's neighbours and the Libyan Government in their efforts to address these concerns, including through enhanced information-sharing mechanisms and border controls.
62. Foremost, the National Transitional Council and Libyan civil society are looking to the United Nations to support the country's electoral path to a democratic State. Throughout its engagements to date, UNSMIL has consistently conveyed the message that the elections constitute a Libyan-led process, and while the United Nations can provide assistance and support in line with its mandate, it is the Libyans who must agree on the electoral system and other essential elements of the electoral legislation. Nonetheless, UNSMIL is encountering very high expectations, with interlocutors requesting strong United Nations involvement as a guarantor of the integrity of the electoral process.
63. Throughout our planning for the post-conflict period, I have emphasized the need for the international community to approach Libya with full respect for the importance of Libyan ownership and for its own capabilities. Despite our eagerness to assist the new Libya, it is critical that the United Nations and the international community remain measured and coordinated in their engagement with the Libyan authorities during this time of transition, following closely their sense of immediate priorities and taking care to avoid imposing overambitious expectations or longerterm programmes.
64. In proposing the establishment of UNSMIL, I recommended a three-month initial deployment to allow for in-country engagement in further defining the needs and wishes of Libya concerning United Nations support, while delivering urgent advice and assistance. The prolongation of the conflict has delayed the formation of the interim Government and other developments essential for the dialogue and assessment of needs required for mission planning although, as reported above, UNSMIL has been able to undertake significant preparations within the areas of its mandate. In this context, I recommend a three-month extension of the mandate, to enable me to revert to the Security Council with proposals for adjustments reflecting the wishes of the interim Government concerning future United Nations support.
65. The Libyan people have created for themselves an extraordinary opportunity and now face extraordinary challenges. They look to the United Nations to be a key partner as they address these challenges, and we must devote our best efforts to supporting them.
66. I commend the Libyan authorities and people for their historic accomplishments and I thank them for the close collaboration that they have provided to the United Nations. I also thank Libya's international development partners, regional organizations and others for their ongoing contributions in securing peace and stability in Libya, as well as the staff of UNSMIL and the United Nations system for their efforts to support Libya's transition under the leadership of my Special Representative, Ian Martin.
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