Equipo Nizkor
        Bookshop | Donate
Derechos | Equipo Nizkor       


Français | Español | Русский

Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (Apr.-Aug. 2017)

Back to top

United Nations
Security Council


Distr.: General
22 August 2017
Original: English

Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya

I. Introduction

1. The present report, submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2323 (2016), covers political and security developments in Libya, provides an overview of the economic, human rights and humanitarian situation in the country and outlines the activities of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) since the issuance of my previous report on 4 April 2017 (S/2017/283).

II. Political and security-related developments

2. The reporting period was marked by numerous efforts by the United Nations and Member States to revitalize the political process against the backdrop of a highly volatile security environment. Clashes in Tripoli led to the eventual withdrawal of some hardline armed groups and improved security control in the capital by forces supportive of the Presidency Council. Escalating violence took place in Southern Libya, where forces of the two main armed actors, the Libyan National Army and the Misratan-affiliated Third Force clashed over control of strategic positions.

3. Libyan political and security actors continued to engage in dialogue to advance the political process. These activities took place amidst increasing popular debate over the nature and the end state of the transitional period and the possible holding of elections in 2018. Delegations representing the House of Representatives and High State Council were also selected in line with the Libyan Political Agreement to engage in dialogue on possible amendments to the Agreement. The Constitution Drafting Assembly finalized a draft constitution to ensure that a constitutional framework would be in place at the end of the transitional period. On 29 July 2017, the Assembly voted and approved the constitution, which is to be put to popular referendum for adoption.

4. During the reporting period, I appointed Ghassan Salame (Lebanon) as my new Special Representative and Head of UNSMIL, effective 26 July 2017. He replaced Martin Kobler (Germany), who ended his tenure as my Special Representative and Head of UNSMIL on 30 June.

Implementation of Libyan Political Agreement

5. UNMSIL continued to engage with Libyan stakeholders to facilitate an inclusive political process to address the contentious issues in the Libyan Political Agreement. On 24 April 2017, the House of Representatives announced the formation of a 24-member dialogue committee, including three women. On 9 May, the High State Council announced its own 13 member committee, including one woman. Although the two committees have not met together formally since their formation, several members of the two committees met for informal consultations in The Hague on 23 May and 7 July under the auspices of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. On 15 July, Prime Minister Faiez Serraj, in his personal capacity, proposed a transitional road map, incorporating, inter alia, a call for a ceasefire throughout Libya and the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections in March 2018.

Regional and international engagement

6. Concerned Member States, including Libya's neighbours, States members of the European Union and regional organizations, continued their efforts to advance the Libyan political process and bridge divides among key stakeholders. On 8 May 2017, my former Special Representative attended the eleventh meeting of the neighbouring States of Libya at the ministerial level, which was held in Algiers. The Ministers for Foreign Affairs affirmed the need to resolve the political crisis through inclusive dialogue and welcomed the recent meetings between the heads of Libyan national institutions.

7. On 23 May 2017, the European Union hosted the second meeting of the Quartet (African Union, European Union, League of Arab States and United Nations) in Brussels. UNSMIL also provided support for the visits of the High Representative of the African Union for Libya, former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, and a ministerial delegation from the High-Level Committee of the African Union on Libya, during which they met with Libyan stakeholders with a view to moving the political process forward.

8. On 6 June 2017, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia met for the second time to discuss support for reconciliation efforts in Libya under the leadership of the United Nations. On 2 July, during the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, the High-level Committee of the African Union met for the third time to promote a common approach to a political solution to the crisis.

9. During the reporting period a number of initiatives were pursued by Member States in support of the political process. On 21 April 2017, Italy hosted the first meeting between the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Head of the High State Council. Building on previous efforts by Egypt, on 2 and 3 May, Prime Minister Serraj and General Khalifa Haftar met in Abu Dhabi. On 25 July, the President of France hosted a second bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Serraj and General Haftar, which resulted in the issuance of a declaration calling for a ceasefire, an inclusive political dialogue to enable the effective implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement and the holding of elections. On 20 and 31 July, Egypt convened meetings to facilitate dialogue between military delegations from Misrata and the Libyan National Army.

Situation in the western region

10. In Tripoli, forces affiliated with the defunct "Government of National Salvation" were ousted from the city following fighting with forces supportive of the Presidency Council. On 26 May 2017, pro-Presidency Council forces repelled an attack by forces aligned with the Government of National Salvation, resulting in the death of at least 44 fighters and four civilians. Forces under the Presidency Council, including the Presidential Guard, took control of key positions in the city, including Tripoli International Airport. On 7 July, pro-Presidency Council forces repelled an attempt by groups supporting the Government of National Salvation to enter the city. The clash, which took place in Qarabulli, some 25 km east of the capital, resulted in four civilian deaths and further expansion of the area of control of pro-Presidency Council forces.

11. On 11 June 2017, the Abu Bakr al-Saddiq Battalion announced that it had released Saif al-Islam Qadhafi from Zintan, where he had been detained since 2011. The group, which is affiliated with the Libyan National Army, claimed that Qaddafi had been released consistent with the 2012 Amnesty Law. His release has not been independently verified.

Situation in the eastern region

12. In the east, fighting between the Libyan National Army and disparate armed groups continued in Benghazi and Derna. On 23 June 2017, the Libyan National Army took control of the Souk al-Hout district of Benghazi, expelling the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries from its last main stronghold. On 5 July, the Libyan National Army announced the liberation of Benghazi, despite ongoing fighting in some neighbourhoods still occupied by the Shura Council. The advance of the Libyan National Army came at a high cost, with the reported loss of 78 combatants in the first 20 days of July alone. The campaign to seize neighbourhoods from the armed groups took place in parallel with an escalation in the number of asymmetrical terrorist attacks. On 19 May, a tribal leader and three other persons were killed in an attack using a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. On 10 June, another such device was used to target the Mayor of Benghazi, injuring five persons. Civilians returning to their homes in Benghazi continued to be the victims of mines, improvised explosive devices and other explosive remnants of war.

13. The situation in Darnah remains tense and access to the city remained highly restricted, which has resulted in the worsening of the humanitarian situation. The Libyan National Army continued to clash with elements of the Darnah Mujahidin Shura Council, bolstered by air support. On 15 July 2017, the commander of the Libyan National Army forces in charge of operations in Darnah announced ongoing discussions with local elders to negotiate an end to the fighting in the city.

Situation in the southern region

14. During the reporting period, the Libyan National Army significantly expanded its area of control in southern Libya. On 18 May 2017, following a series of clashes between forces aligned with the National Army and the Third Force affiliated with Misrata, elements of the Benghazi Defence Brigades, along with the Third Force, attacked the Buraq al-Shati airbase, controlled by the National Army, killing at least 89 military personnel and six civilians. The attack was widely condemned in Libya, including by the Presidency Council, and sparked angry reactions by local tribes. Despite seizing full control of the airbase, the Third Force was obliged to withdraw from key installations in the south that they had secured, including the Sharara oil fields. The Libyan National Army quickly moved in to take up those positions. On 24 May, the new military commander for the Sabha Military Zone appointed by the Libyan National Army command called for all military units in the south to join the National Army.

15. Politically, many actors in the south continue to profess their reluctance to be drawn into what they perceive as an east versus west conflict. Two groups were therefore formed to advocate for the interests of the south and ensure better coordinated action by southern actors. On 5 June 2017, a total of 15 members of the High State Council from the south announced the creation of the "Southern Bloc" and on 17 July, a group of influential southern activists representing the main tribal communities announced the formation of the "National Forces Assembly of Fezzan".

ISIL in Libya

16. Since the liberation of Sirte in December 2016, ISIL is no longer in control of territory in Libya although it continues to be active within the country. ISIL elements were active in the desert region south and south-west of Sirte, and sleeper cells are located in other parts of the country. During the reporting period, ISIL conducted at least six attacks, mostly against the pro-Presidency Council force Al-Bunyan al-Marsous, which controls security in Sirte. It included an attack on 14 May 2017, in which ISIL seized three fuel trucks on the road to Jufra. ISIL continued to suffer losses, however, including the killing of a commander on 23 April by the Libyan National Army.

Economic situation

17. Oil production levels reached over one million barrels of oil per day, as announced on 30 June 2017 by the Chair of the National Oil Corporation. This is the highest level of oil production since 2013. Oil production is expected to reach 1.25 million barrels per day by the end of 2017. Nonetheless, the value of the Libyan dinar continued to fall, reaching 8.4 dinars to the United States dollar as of 19 July, compared to 6.36 dinars to the dollar in March 2017.

18. Despite the increase in oil production, which is projected to account for over 80 per cent of Government revenues in 2017, the budget deficit is much higher than previously projected. On 13 July 2017, the Central Bank of Libya reported that the budget deficit for the first half of the year amounted to 6.7 billion dinars. While this is marginally lower than 2016, the Central Bank continues to cover the deficit with its quickly diminishing foreign currency reserves, which are projected to decrease to $44.6 billion by the end of 2017, down from $53.5 billion one year ago.

19. To assist in effective disbursement of the budget, the United States of America continued to hold economic dialogue meetings in Tunis attended by representatives of the Presidency Council, the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Libya and the State Audit Bureau. UNSMIL participated in the meetings in an observer capacity.

III. Constitution-making process

20. The constitution-making process advanced during the reporting period. Following the proposal of Prime Minister Serraj on 15 July 2017, the development of a constitutional framework to end the transition has taken on increased urgency. On 12 March, the Constitution Drafting Assembly formed a 12-member "consensus committee" to update the draft text of the constitution produced in April 2016. That committee subsequently developed a draft aimed at addressing concerns among members who had either rejected the April 2016 draft or had boycotted the proceedings. For the first time in over a year, a significant majority of members of the Constitution Drafting Assembly, including some of those who had previously boycotted the proceedings, met at their Bayda' headquarters. The meeting gave the members an opportunity to propose alternative constitutional drafts to the April 2016 text.

21. On 29 July 2017, the consensus committee's revised text of the April 2016 draft was passed by a vote of 43 to 1. The next step in the process is the passing of a referendum law. The draft must then be put to a popular referendum before it is legally adopted.

22. In parallel with the efforts of the Assembly to finalize a text, Libyan and international partners continued to raise awareness about constitutional issues with a broad range of Libyan constituencies, including women's groups and organizations. Particular effort has gone into engaging Libya's minorities to ensure that their rights and aspirations are reflected in any draft text put to a referendum.

IV. Other activities of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya

A. Electoral support

23. UNSMIL continued to provide advisory and technical support to the High National Elections Commission. On 7 May 2017, the Commission requested the resumption of an integrated United Nations electoral assistance framework, including development of a new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) electoral assistance project. As a result, the United Nations will conduct a technical assessment to determine the needs of the Commission, as well as of institutional capacity and operational readiness to carry out election-related activities and events. Of particular importance will be an assessment of steps required to update the voter list ahead of a possible referendum on a draft constitution and related electoral events, as well as the impact of the security environment on the processes.

B. Human rights, transitional justice and the rule of law

24. During the period under review, all parties to the conflict committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Victims had little avenue for redress due to a general state of lawlessness and the weakness of judicial institutions.

25. Ongoing violence also continued to cause civilian casualties. From 4 April to 21 July 2017, UNSMIL documented a total of 144 civilian casualties, 66 deaths and 78 injuries. Leading causes of death included gunfire, airstrikes, shelling and the use of explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices.

26. Attacks on health-care facilities and medical personnel continued across the country, including in Zawiyah, Benghazi, Tripoli and Sabha. During the reporting period, the main hospital in Zawiyah was closed three times because of armed clashes in its vicinity. The attacks on health-care facilities have a strong impact on women, who constitute 56 per cent of employees at hospitals across the three Libyan regions.

Abductions and killings

27. Armed groups on all sides continued to take hostages, to carry out unlawful killings and to use torture and forced disappearances, including of civilians, in particular women and other persons not involved in the fighting. Individuals were targeted on the basis of family or tribal identity, affiliations and political opinions, as well as for ransom or prisoner exchange.

28. On 18 May 2017, dozens of captured fighters and civilians were summarily executed or otherwise unlawfully killed during a coordinated attack against the Libyan National Army-controlled Birak al-Shati' airbase. Some bodies were reportedly found with bound hands and single gunshots to the head. The Presidency Council has opened an investigation into the incident.

29. During the clashes in Tripoli on 26 May 2017, the bodies of five guards at the Hadba prison were brought to a Tripoli morgue with gunshot wounds to the back of the head, raising concerns about possible summary executions. Some hours earlier, the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade had gained control of the facility.

30. During the reporting period, five videos emerged on social media depicting Libyan National Army forces carrying out apparent summary executions of suspected fighters of the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries. Soon afterwards, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) requested the suspension from service of persons allegedly involved in the incidents.

Detention torture and death in custody

31. Across the country, arbitrary detention remained widespread in both official prisons and detention facilities controlled by armed groups. Little progress was made in screening individual cases to ensure that those held were either referred for trial or released, in accordance with Libyan law.

32. Although UNSMIL visited several facilities, including the Hadba prison and the Abu Salim Security Directorate, it was not able to conduct private interviews with detainees. Despite its repeated requests, UNSMIL was unable to visit the Mitiga detention facility in Tripoli, one of the largest detention facilities in the city, which is controlled by the Special Deterrence Force under the aegis of the Ministry of Interior. UNSMIL continued to receive credible reports of torture, sexual and gender-based violence, poor prison conditions, medical neglect and denial of family visits for detainees.

33. Following the takeover of the Hadba prison by pro-Presidency Council armed groups on 26 May 2017, the conditions and whereabouts of the prisoners, including senior officials of the ousted Qadhafi regime, remained unclear.

Groups in vulnerable situations


34. Migrants continued to be subjected by smugglers, traffickers, members of armed groups and security forces to extreme violence; torture and other ill-treatment; forced labour; arbitrary deprivation of liberty; rape; and other sexual violence and exploitation. On 11 April 2017, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) denounced the presence of slave markets in Libya, where sub-Saharan migrants were bought and sold and women were traded as sex slaves. On 8 May, the International Criminal Court informed the Security Council that it was carefully examining the feasibility of opening an investigation into migrant-related crimes in Libya, should the jurisdictional requirements of the Court allow it.

35. UNSMIL visited detention centres under the control of the Department for Combatting Illegal Migration in Gharyan, Tripoli, Misrata and Surman, where thousands of migrants have been held arbitrarily for prolonged periods of time with no possibility to challenge the legality of their detention. UNSMIL had documented cases of torture, ill-treatment, rape and other forms of sexual violence. Detention centres remained overcrowded, and detainees were often malnourished, living in poor hygienic conditions and with limited or no access to medical care.

36. Migrants rescued or intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard were disembarked at 10 designated points between Ras Ajdir and Misrata, and then transported to detention centres controlled by the Department for Combatting Illegal Migration. UNSMIL received numerous reports of dangerous, life-threatening interceptions by armed men believed to be from the Libyan Coast Guard. UNSMIL has been reviewing its support to the Libyan Coast Guard in line with the United Nations human rights due diligence policy.


37. During the reporting period, women were arbitrarily deprived of their liberty, often because of family affiliations or for prisoner exchanges, and were held in facilities without female guards, exposing them to the risk of sexual abuse. Migrant women and girls were particularly vulnerable to gang rape and other sexual violence and exploitation at the hands of officials, including from staff of the Department for Combating Illegal Migration, members of armed groups, smugglers and traffickers.


38. Children continued to be victims of abductions, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment; and they were often held in detention facilities with adults. They were also caught in indiscriminate attacks or crossfire, with at least 12 killed and 11 injured in hostilities during the reporting period. Lack of access for the monitoring and verification of grave violations against children remains a main concern, resulting in the collection of limited data reflecting the situation on the ground.

Internally displaced persons

39. Many internally displaced persons were subjected to threats, intimidation and targeted attacks. On 31 May 2017, members of the Sbortowat armed group from the Warshafanah region reportedly held and maltreated internally displaced persons of the Tawerghan community at the Janzour Naval Academy camp, impeded their freedom of movement and disrupted the electricity supply to the camp. On 6 June, an internally displaced person from Benghazi was stabbed when an armed group attacked a settlement of internally displaced persons in Misrata. On the same day, a car carrying a family of internally displaced persons from Benghazi came under fire in Misrata by a man allegedly affiliated to a local armed group, resulting in the death of a woman and injury to her two sons.

Activists and media workers

40. During the reporting period, human rights defenders, activists, journalists and other media professionals were victims of targeted attacks and intimidation. The whereabouts of Jabir Zain, a Tripoli-based activist, remained unknown after his abduction on 26 September 2016, ahead of his participation in a seminar on women's rights. UNSMIL received reports that members of the Second Support Brigade, nominally under the Ministry of Interior, carried out the abduction, although the group denies holding him.

Transitional justice and national reconciliation

41. On 14 May 2017, the Presidency Council issued a decree establishing a preparatory committee for national reconciliation tasked with organizing a dialogue process to develop a mandate for a future national reconciliation commission. With assistance provided by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund and UNDP, UNSMIL continues to support the national reconciliation process through a comprehensive and inclusive programme.

42. Two agreements were signed to facilitate the return of internally displaced persons to their communities of origin. On 18 May 2017, an agreement was reached between the Mashashiya and Zintani communities on the return of persons displaced in the region since 2011 and on the establishment of independent mechanisms to address the issues of reparation, compensation and missing persons. Both sides requested the assistance of UNSMIL in the facilitation of the dialogue and implementation of the agreement. On 20 June, the Presidency Council ratified an agreement on the return of Tawerghan internally displaced persons and the provision of reparations. UNSMIL and UNDP urged the preparatory committee and the Presidency Council to implement the agreement in full compliance with international standards, including respect for the principle of no conditionality on the return of internally displaced persons, full transparency and oversight for reparation and other payments, as well as the need to address truth and accountability issues through a national programme.

43. In an effort to address local conflicts and create the conditions for a national reconciliation process, from 24 to 26 May 2017 UNSMIL facilitated, in Malta, a dialogue between the Awlad Sulayman and Qadhadhfa tribes. UNSMIL continued to engage both parties to make progress towards an effective negotiation process. UNSMIL also convened a meeting between notables and tribal representatives from Misrata and from the eastern region of Libya as a first step towards an actual reconciliation process. To promote cooperation and synergy among various mediation initiatives, UNSMIL organized, on 15 June, a meeting of international mediators working on the situation in southern Libya.

Judicial and penal system

44. While prosecutors, judges and other judicial staff continued to work in a difficult security and operational environment during the reporting period, there was a partial reactivation of prosecution and court offices in central and eastern Libya. The Minister of Justice of the Government of National Accord confirmed his commitment to addressing the situation of those held unlawfully and to ensuring the humane treatment of detainees.

45. In April and May 2017, UNSMIL facilitated a series of workshops on prison reform and international standards on the treatment of prisoners in Tripoli and Tunis for judicial police officers, members of the judiciary and civil society actors.

46. In May 2017, as part of the criminal justice reform initiative in Libya, the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime facilitated an agreement between the Ministries of Justice of Libya and Algeria. The agreement will allow experts from the Algerian National School for Prison Management and experts in prison management from the Office for Drugs and Crime to deliver a comprehensive training package, including training for trainers, to Libyan judicial police officers. Once completed, graduates are expected to join the judicial police training institutes in Libya.

Human rights due diligence policy

47. On 7 April 2017, UNSMIL senior management and heads of agencies of the United Nations country team in Libya agreed on a general and preliminary risk assessment and a standing operating procedure for implementation of the human rights due diligence policy on United Nations support to non-United Nations security forces in Libya (see A/67/775-S/2013/110). The United Nations system in Libya is currently reviewing its support to Libyan security forces and is considering mitigating measures that may reduce the risk of the commission of violations of international humanitarian, human rights and refugee laws.

C. Security sector

Support for Libyan planning for interim security arrangements

48. In Tripoli, UNSMIL, supported by the European Union Liaison and Planning Cell, continued to engage with local authorities to establish a security structure for the capital. The ceasefire of 15 March 2017 and the subsequent departure from the capital of forces supporting the Government of National Salvation in May provided an opening for the Presidency Council and affiliated forces to consolidate their control of the city. On 20 April, Prime Minister Serraj signed the Tripoli security plan, bringing together the Presidential Guard and security actors from the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior, counter-terrorism forces and the Libyan navy and coastguard.

49. As at 30 June 2017, a total of 30 police stations were operational in Tripoli and plans were in place for an additional 30 police stations. In a related undertaking, UNSMIL and UNDP developed a joint programme to support police, justice and corrections within the global focal point arrangement.

Arms and ammunition management

50. In collaboration with the United Nations Mine Action Service, UNSMIL continued to assist Libyan authorities in their efforts to address the threat posed by the uncontrolled spread of arms and ammunition, as well as the residual risk of death and injury from explosive remnants of war and booby traps. The Mine Action Service supported the Libyan Mine Action Centre in the development of an arms and ammunition management framework to inform future Government measures to address stockpile control. UNSMIL and the Mine Action Service also scaled up efforts to coordinate the international response to the threat of explosive hazards in Sirte.

51. UNSMIL and the United Nations Mine Action Service also organized training sessions for national authorities in institutional and operational capacity-building, including quality assurance, explosive ordnance disposal, non-technical surveys, risk awareness and medical response. This was to improve their ability to respond to the current humanitarian situation and enable safe access, particularly for internally displaced persons and returnees.

52. The United Nations Mine Action Service provided medical first responder training courses for 48 Benghazi operators dealing with explosive hazards. To raise awareness about the needs of victims of explosive incidents, the Mine Action Service, in coordination with an international non-governmental organization and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), held the first workshop on victim assistance for Libya, in Tunis on 27 and 28 July 2017. The Mine Action Service continued to coordinate with risk education partners in support of raising awareness about the dangers posed by explosive hazards and to increase the safety of the population. From January to June, over 21,000 people participated in such programmes across Libya.

D. Women's empowerment

53. In May, UNSMIL, supported by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), finalized the 2017-2018 national strategy on women and peace and security to promote women's political participation, including through capacity-building and technical assistance.

54. UNSMIL continued to train women members of the House of Representatives and provided technical assistance in support of the women's caucus in Parliament. From 4 to 7 May 2017, UNSMIL also engaged with the Deputy Minister of Interior in order to identify training opportunities for women police officers. Members of the High National Electoral Commission joined a training session on gender-based budgeting, held from 4 to 6 August. On 8 May, UNSMIL, in coordination with the State Minister of Women's Affairs and Community Development, launched a study on Libyan women's leadership, highlighting the low percentage of women in decision-making positions and providing recommendations to enhance female leadership.

55. On 19 and 20 May 2017, UNSMIL, with UN-Women and UNDP, organized a lessons-learned discussion on the participation of Libyan women in the political dialogue process. As an outcome of the discussion, participants agreed on principles and methods of engagement for future dialogue and negotiation processes.

E. Young people, peace and security

56. During the period under review, UNSMIL broadened its engagement with young women and men, including by promoting their activities on its social media accounts. On 6 April, 14 and 23 May 2017, my former Special Representative held meetings with male and female representatives from over 15 youth organizations in Tripoli. From 16 to 18 May, with the support of the Peacebuilding Fund, UNSMIL gathered 30 youth activists engaged in promoting reconciliation in their communities to ensure the integration of their voices and concerns within the national reconciliation process. UNSMIL is also facilitating the creation of a national network of youth for reconciliation.

57. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), jointly with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other partners, supported the Government in developing the "Youth policy paper for a national youth strategy", presenting an in-depth analysis of the current situation to inform the development of a youth strategy for Libya.

58. A perception survey conducted by UNSMIL in April 2017 found that Libyan youth emerged as the group most supportive of the Libyan Political Agreement. The survey showed that more than 75 per cent of young Libyan women and men support the implementation of the Agreement and uniting the country under a civilian-led government of national unity.

F. Coordination and international assistance

59. On 18 July 2017, in Tripoli, the Government of National Accord hosted the first meeting of the Senior Policy Committee, the overarching structure of the coordination framework for international technical cooperation with the Government of Libya, bringing together the Libyan Prime Minister, senior representatives of the Government of National Accord and representatives of donor countries and of entities of the United Nations system in Libya. Participants identified concrete ways to strengthen international partnerships to improve the living conditions of people in need, based on the needs and priorities presented by the Government of National Accord.

60. On 30 and 31 March 2017, the fifth meeting of the Libya Experts Development Cooperation Forum was convened in Tunis to discuss policy options for a national framework for social protection and the provision of immediate support to the poor and vulnerable. The event was aimed at reducing vulnerability in the country.

G. Humanitarian, stabilization and development assistance

61. Overall, the humanitarian situation remained unchanged during the reporting period. Sporadic escalations of violence in southern Libya resulted in small-scale displacements and further hampered access to basic commodities and emergency humanitarian assistance, especially medical support. Living standards and the provision of basic services continued to deteriorate amidst continual shortages of electricity, especially in the south.

62. Insufficient funding is hampering efforts to respond to humanitarian needs in a sustained and comprehensive manner. While the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017 targets 941,000 people in need and requests $151 million in donations, so far only $42.9 million (28 per cent) of the funding requirement has been provided.

63. Despite challenges and shortfalls, United Nations agencies, funds and programmes continued to provide urgent humanitarian relief and assistance, mainly through national counterparts. IOM noted a decrease in the number of internally displaced persons in the country, with over 240,000 displaced persons identified at the end of the reporting period compared to 303,000 in February 2017. Returns to communities of origin increased considerably during the period, with about 250,000 returnees identified as of May, especially to Benghazi, Sirte and Ubari. From April to July, UNHCR supported approximately 8,000 Libyan internally displaced persons and returnees with core relief items, shelter kits and cash-based interventions in the Nafusa Mountains and in the Benghazi area.

64. The World Health Organization (WHO) supported the Ministry of Health in enhancing the latter's health system capacities, including through the creation of an Emergency Management Department and an Emergency Operations Centre. An assessment of service availability and readiness was completed, which provided the humanitarian community and development actors with valuable data. WHO also provided technical assistance to Libyan authorities to enhance operational capabilities to deliver humanitarian assistance. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) procured and delivered 550 refrigerators and 550 voltage regulators for installation in health facilities across Libya. Since April 2017, UNFPA has distributed emergency reproductive health kits to 21 health facilities in several governorates, reaching 44,000 vulnerable pregnant women. In addition, UNFPA, in collaboration with WHO and UNICEF, initiated the development of a five-year reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health strategy with the Libyan Ministry of Health.

65. Almost 3,500 refugees and asylum seekers have been registered since the beginning of 2017, and the population of refugees now totals over 42,000. UNHCR and partners assisted almost 6,000 individuals with primary health care in detention centres and provided weekly medical consultations, hygiene kits and cash-based interventions to about 650 refugees and asylum seekers in two Tripoli community development centres. UNHCR resettled a group of refugee women previously held in captivity by armed groups and transferred another group to a new location so that it could provide them with adequate medical assistance and protection.

66. Amidst worsening food insecurity of internally displaced persons, returnees and refugees, the World Food Programme (WFP) provided assistance through on-site food distribution to almost 78,000 people throughout Libya. Together with the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), UNHCR and UNFPA, WFP expanded its household multisectoral needs assessment to include nine additional municipalities (Jufrah, Benghazi, Sirte, Ajdabiya, Zawiyah, Bayda', Sabha, Ubari and Kufrah) and enhanced its information base through a Joint Market Initiative.

67. UNICEF and WHO conducted more than 86,000 sub-national immunization days in eight districts in the south of Libya, targeting 103,374 children. With the influx of migrants to the south, sub-national immunization days constituted one of the mitigation measures to prevent the importation of the polio virus to the country.

68. During the first six months of 2017, UNICEF and its partners provided over 20,000 children with access to psychosocial support services in both community and school-based child-friendly spaces. Over 3,200 children, including children with disabilities and children on the move, continue to benefit from catch-up classes, remedial education and recreational activities.

69. From 2 April to 24 July 2017, IOM recorded over 68,800 migrants who had reached Italy by way of the central Mediterranean route. The Libyan coastguard and other entities rescued more than 7,700 migrants between 1 April and 24 July, while more than 1,600 deaths were recorded. IOM identified over 390,000 migrants present in Libya, but estimates that between 700,000 and 1 million refugees and migrants are present in the country.

70. During the reporting period, IOM rehabilitated two detention centres in Tripoli, initiated work on two additional centres and helped 3,700 stranded migrants to return home through its voluntary humanitarian return and reintegration programme. This brought the total number of people assisted under the programme, as of 24 July 2017, to more than 5,500. In addition, IOM and UNHCR also supported the upgrade of disembarkation points in western Libya to provide better reception conditions for refugees and migrants.

71. The Stabilization Facility for Libya, launched in April 2016 and funded by 13 donors at a total cost of $36.7 million, rehabilitated and re-equipped facilities in Benghazi, Kiklah, Awbari, Sabha and Sirte. The programme is now expanding to Tripoli, Bani Walid, Kufrah and Derna, as security and financial resources permit.

72. As part of this joint engagement on strengthening the institutional resilience of core governance institutions in Libya, the Government of National Accord requested additional support from UNDP to address issues related to the technical functioning of the executive office at the centre-of-government. UNDP concluded the core government function assessment, including areas of Government employment and public administration, the security sector, the rule of law and local governance. In May 2017, upon invitation by the Presidency Council, UNDP undertook a joint mission with UNSMIL to Tripoli to assess critical emerging priorities in the executive office at the capital. UNDP is initiating a targeted transitional intervention, jointly with UNSMIL.

73. To assess the recovery needs of Libya, the entities of the United Nations system in the country, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Union jointly established a task force to review the quality of existing needs assessments and to inform policy formulation of Libya's mid-term sectoral strategy, with a focus on institutional and capacity issues. UNFPA also set up a national strategy for the development of statistics in Libya, including support in monitoring and reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals, in collaboration with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the African Development Bank.

74. UNESCO continued to lead emergency interventions to protect museums and monuments in Libya, in close collaboration with the Department of Antiquities. The implementation of emergency protection measures is under way to protect key heritage sites and museums. Activities continue to be organized to build the capacities of Libyan conservators and Libyan customs, police officials and heritage personnel to fight the illicit trafficking of cultural property.

V. Deployment of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya and security arrangements

75. As set out in Security Council resolutions 2238 (2015), 2273 (2016), 2291 (2016) and 2323 (2016), UNSMIL continued to work towards the phased re-establishment of a permanent presence in Libya, as security and political conditions allow. To that end, UNSMIL and the staff of the United Nations country team continued with the temporary rotational presence of international staff in Tripoli and with daily missions to other parts of the country, including Tobruk, and more recently, Benghazi, which enabled access to key partners across the country. Such a presence also allowed for visits to critical sites, such as migrant detention centres, meetings with political actors, security actors and judicial authorities, and engagement and interventions linked to the provision of humanitarian, stabilization and development assistance. In view of the security conditions in Libya, as of 30 June 2017, 156 UNSMIL international staff remained deployed in Tunis, with 37 national staff in Libya.

76. The deployment of a United Nations guard unit to the compound in Tripoli identified to serve as UNSMIL premises is anticipated in September.

Security and safety of staff members and operations

77. During the period under review, United Nations personnel in Libya continued to work in a high-risk security environment to implement programmes and activities and to implement the UNSMIL mandate. In Tripoli, the security situation remained precarious and a resumption of armed conflict in the capital could potentially affect both United Nations personnel and operations. The United Nations is still exposed to a wide range of threats, necessitating a continued requirement for additional security resources for its programmes.

78. UNSMIL endeavoured to increase its operations inside Libya and to maintain a permanent presence of security, support and substantive personnel in Tripoli on a rotational basis. As a result of the security situation, restrictions continued to be imposed on the movement of personnel in Tripoli and on international staff taking flights to Tripoli and other Libyan destinations.

79. On 28 June 2017, an UNSMIL convoy was attacked by an armed group on the Sahili (coastal) Road in western Zawiyah, 70 km west of Tripoli, as it was returning from a mission to the female detention facility operated by the Directorate for Countering Illegal Migration in Surman. The attack involved the brief detention of four staff members, one of whom had been injured during the incident, and the loss and damage to United Nations assets. UNSMIL is conducting an investigation into the circumstances.

80. The threat of terrorist attacks against the international community remained, and while ISIL no longer controls territory in Libya, at least six attacks during the reporting period, mostly in the vicinity of Sirte, were attributed to the group.

VI. Strategic assessment review

81. In response to Security Council resolution 2323 (2016), in which the Council stated that looked forward to the outcome of the Secretary-General's strategic assessment mission, the Department of Political Affairs conducted such an assessment to review the role of the United Nations and set priorities for UNSMIL and the United Nations country team in Libya. The review was conducted from February to July 2017. The Department of Political Affairs engaged Jean-Marie Guehenno as lead facilitator for the strategic assessment process. Mr. Guehenno led an inter-agency strategic assessment mission to Tunisia and Libya from 21 to 26 May 2017. The mission comprised representatives of the Department of Political Affairs, the Department of Field Support, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Safety and Security, UNDP (representing the United Nations Development Group), UNHCR (on behalf of humanitarian agencies) and OHCHR. Its main objectives were to: (a) review the political strategy for Libya; (b) assess how insecurity and instability in Libya, and the resulting humanitarian and socioeconomic consequences, impact on the UNSMIL mandate and the programmes of the United Nations country team; (c) review the United Nations structure on the ground, including issues related to integration between UNSMIL and the United Nations country team; and (d) contribute to the overall United Nations strategy and to the road map in support of the transition in Libya.

82. The strategic assessment included meetings with relevant United Nations interlocutors (UNSMIL and the United Nations country team), Libyan stakeholders, Member States and neighbouring and international partners, as well as regional organizations. The strategic assessment allowed for a review of the political, security, human rights, humanitarian and economic situations in Libya, including women's and youth issues. Further, it evaluated national capacities and proposed strategic options for the United Nations system in Libya, including priorities and structure, based upon existing capabilities.

83. The strategic assessment mission recommended that UNSMIL, as an integrated special political mission, continue to focus on good offices and mediation efforts to: (a) backstop the political transition in Libya by supporting key Libyan institutions; (b) support efforts to secure uncontrolled arms and counter their proliferation; (c) promote respect for and the protection of human rights and the rule of law; and (d) coordinate international engagement. The main recommendations of the assessment include a reiteration of the primacy of politics; building credibility with the Libyans as a priority, including by enhancing existing structures; focusing on security arrangements and the national security architecture; prioritizing the neighbouring countries of Libya in efforts to coordinate international initiatives; maintaining a principled position on the question of migration; and securing predictable support for humanitarian assistance. The review recommended that UNSMIL revisit its structure to increasing its capacity to support the political process and strengthen coordination among its substantive sections and the United Nations country team. This is to ensure coherent mandate delivery and the implementation of priority programming across Libya. While the review considered three reconfiguration options, the selected Mission structure comprises one Special Representative and two Deputy Special Representatives, one for political affairs and the other who would also serve as Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator. This option will best enable UNSMIL to implement a comprehensive political strategy while also maximizing the comparative advantages of UNSMIL and United Nations agencies, funds and programmes by facilitating greater integration and strategic coordination.

VII. Observations and recommendations

84. The priority of my new Special Representative, Ghassan Salame, will be to engage all Libyan stakeholders, with a view to reinvigorating an inclusive political process within the framework of the Libyan Political Agreement, and to support a legitimate Government capable of unifying the country and its national institutions. This objective must be reinforced by steps to improve the security situation and stabilize the economy. I have requested my Special Representative to develop a comprehensive strategy and an action plan for the engagement of the entities of the United Nations system in Libya, consistent with the recommendations of the strategic review. The strategy will be presented during a high-level event to be held on the margins of the seventy-second session of the General Assembly. It is my hope that participants in the event will be represented at the highest level and that they will support the central role of the United Nations in facilitating a Libyan-led political dialogue to help Libyans build stability, security and national unity.

85. Recent initiatives by Member States to bring Libyan stakeholders together and to foster compromise and reconciliation are encouraging. I sense a growing determination among key Libyan actors to resolve the current crisis through a political solution. My Special Representative will strive to unify and consolidate the various initiatives under the leadership of the United Nations. I call on all Libyans and on regional and international actors to extend their full support and cooperation to my Special Representative to that end.

86. There is a window of opportunity to resolve the crisis in Libya and to support the resumption of the democratic transition. I encourage all Libyan stakeholders to put their country's interest first, to assume their responsibilities and to work with a spirit of compromise and resolve to find a political solution. There is no military solution to the political crisis. The Libyan Political Agreement remains a workable framework for overcoming Libya's political crisis. I call upon all Libyan actors to use the framework as a basis for charting a clear way forward to bring the transitional period to completion, including by adopting the required set of amendments to the agreement.

87. Only a broad political agreement among political factions, competing State institutions and security and societal actors can create the enabling environment for elections. The passing of the constitutional proposal and the increasing calls by Libyan stakeholders to hold elections in 2018 highlight the need to build the capacities of relevant Libyan institutions. The United Nations stands ready to support the holding of a referendum and an electoral process based on political consensus, as well as on an adequate legal framework and conducive operational and security conditions.

88. Managing and resolving conflict at the local level is critical to addressing the underlying grievances fuelling the current conflict in Libya, and to preventing further escalation. I encourage Libyan authorities to create an inclusive national reconciliation process and I welcome the decision of the Presidency Council to create a preparatory committee for reconciliation. My Special Representative and the United Nations system stand ready to continue to support ongoing efforts in this regard and I wish to commend local and international mediators for their tireless efforts and contributions towards resolving conflict at the local level.

89. I am concerned that the security situation remains highly volatile, with sporadic but significant clashes in different parts of the country costing the lives of many civilians, including those of children. I call on all parties to exercise restraint and to engage in dialogue to reach a political solution. I am grateful for the efforts of the Presidency Council, the Government of National Accord and members of the House of Representatives, among others, who assisted UNSMIL in facilitating the release of its staff members following the attack on an UNSMIL convoy on 28 June 2017. I encourage the Government of National Accord to swiftly carry out an investigation with a view to ensuring the perpetrators are brought to justice.

90. Threats to national security can only be addressed effectively through the creation of a unified Libyan armed and security forces, operating under civilian control. In this regard, I welcome the steps being taken by the Presidency Council to implement the Tripoli Security Plan as well as efforts by the Ministry of Interior to consolidate its control over local police directorates. I also welcome the commitment to call a ceasefire undertaken by Prime Minister Serraj and General Haftar following the Paris meeting, under the auspices of the French President. I call on them to engage constructively, with the facilitation of my Special Representative, to broaden consensus across the spectrum of political and security actors in Libya on unresolved military issues.

91. Libyan security forces have made important gains against terrorist groups across the country, including efforts by the Libyan National Army to secure Benghazi and the continued efforts by forces under the Government of National Accord to combat remaining pockets of ISIL. These gains are reversible if not underpinned by a political commitment and concrete actions to unify Libyan security forces, and sustained by efforts to rehabilitate conflict-affected areas.

92. I am concerned about the prevailing lawlessness in the country. Abduction and hostage-taking, including of children; torture and other ill-treatment; summary executions and unlawful killings; enforced disappearances; and arbitrary, incommunicado and prolonged detention should end. Criminal syndicates, including those involved in the smuggling of petrol to neighbouring countries, pose a direct threat to the rule of law and undermine efforts to restore stability.

93. Too many innocent children, women and men have lost their lives or have been subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean. The fundamental rights of migrants must be upheld at all times. I call on the Libyan authorities to immediately release the most vulnerable, in particular women at risk, pregnant women, families with children, unaccompanied or separated children and persons with disabilities.

94. The widespread presence of explosive hazards across Libya, including improvised explosive devices, as well as vast amounts of ammunition stockpiles, continues to threaten civilians and humanitarian actors, and there is limited national capacity to address this situation. Support from Member States is urgently needed to continue funding activities in the most severely affected areas: to provide training and equipment to Libyan actors; and to enhance coordination between humanitarian workers and security actors carrying out clearance activities.

95. The provision of basic services has become an urgent priority across the country. It is imperative that the national budget be allocated and disbursed to allow service delivery and to improve the increasingly difficult economic situation. In this regard, I welcome the creation of the Senior Policy Committee and the adoption of the coordination framework for international technical cooperation with the State of Libya. Enhancing the capacities of local authorities will remain a priority for UNSMIL as it supports the efforts of the Government to improve the provision of services.

96. I commend Libyan women for actively engaging in the various peace, political and reconciliation processes. I encourage all Libyans to continue to strive for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women and peace and security. My Special Representative will engage with Libyan women and facilitate wider engagement and participation of women from across the spectrum of Libyan society in the political process and public institutions.

97. In line with the recommendation of the United Nations system-wide strategic assessment, I intend to increase the United Nations presence in Libya through a phased, ramped-up rotation of personnel into Tripoli first, and gradually thereafter to other parts of the country. The main UNSMIL office will temporarily continue to be based in Tunisia. I wish to express my appreciation to the Government of Tunisia for hosting the Mission.

98. Also in line with the strategic assessment, I intend to reconfigure the senior leadership structure of UNSMIL to include the appointment of a Deputy Special Representative for political affairs. This will increase the capacity of the Mission to support the political process and help strengthen coordination among its substantive sections in support of its political mandate. In this regard, I also recommend a one-year extension of the UNSMIL mandate.

99. I would like to express my appreciation to the African Union, the European Union and the League of Arab States for their strong support for the work of the United Nations in Libya. I am particularly encouraged by the commitment and support of neighbouring States, regional actors and organizations to the Libyan political process. A cohesive and united approach within the international community is critical to support a Libyan-owned and Libyan-led process, with the facilitation of the United Nations.

100. As I welcome my new Special Representative Ghassan Salame, I wish to express my appreciation to former Special Representative Martin Kobler for his tireless efforts in implementing the Mission mandate. I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the staff of UNSMIL and the United Nations system in the country for their dedication and hard work and for their efforts to support a peaceful and democratic transition in Libya.

Bookshop Donate Radio Nizkor

Libya War
small logoThis document has been published on 31Aug17 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.