Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced that at least 130 people, mostly civilians, have been killed by landmines and abandoned or unexploded ordnance in Libya since the armed group called the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) withdrew from Tripoli’s southern suburbs in June 2020.
From April 2019 to June 2020, fighters and affiliated forces, including the Wagner Group, a Russian government-linked private military security contractor, fought against armed groups of the former Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), which was also supported by foreign fighters.
“The fighting left behind enormous amounts of explosive remnants of war, including unexploded and abandoned ordnance in all of Tripoli’s southern districts,” said HRW Libya director Hanan Salah.
Officials from the government, the UN, and civic groups said impediments to clearing contaminated areas included fragmented governance and insufficient coordination among government agencies and humanitarian groups.
Efforts have also been hindered by the lack of a centralized data-gathering system, inadequate capacities among some deminers, and funding shortfalls for equipment and training.
On April 20, Human Rights Watch sent the results of its findings to the Government of National Unity (GNU) and the National Army, but they did not reply.
Libya is not among the 164 countries that have joined the Mine Ban Treaty, which prohibits antipersonnel landmines and requires their clearance and victim assistance.
The Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor reported that the European Union and seven countries UK, US, France, Sweden, Japan, Netherlands, and Switzerland had provided $24 million to support demining efforts in Libya. Funded activities include mine clearance, risk education, and victim assistance.