United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reportedly condemned the heavy shelling at a Libyan hospital in Tripoli for the second consecutive day by eastern forces under the command of Khalifa Haftar. According to reports, the UN chief also condemned the continued attack on medical professionals, hospitals and other related facilities at a time when they are critical in combating the coronavirus crisis.
Health authorities of UN-recognised Libyan government reported the second day of heavy bombardment on Al Khadra General Hospital, Tripoli’s largest hospital, where over 300 patients were being treated. Tripoli Health Ministry official said that the power system failed when missiles hit part of the maternity unit, forcing the hospital to evacuate a group of patients.
Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Secretary-General, said in a statement that Guterres reminded all parties that the attack on medical personal and hospital facilities may constitute war crimes since they are protected under international humanitarian law. The UN chief reiterated his call for a global ceasefire and a humanitarian pause in Libya for enabling the authorities to concentrate on the ongoing public health crisis.
Libya has been facing a political and humanitarian crisis after the self-styled Libyan National Army, headed by Khalifa Haftar, launched a battle against UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Fayez al-Sarraj. Several foreign players have been involved in the Libyan conflict and ceasefire calls have been made in the recent past but failed to broker a peace deal.
Last month, the UN chief had received a positive response from the warring parties and hoped that the positive response to the calls for a humanitarian pause to stop the fighting will be translated into an immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities. Guterres had called on the parties to accept the draft ceasefire agreement emanating from the 5+5 Joint Military Commission talks facilitated by the United Nations in Geneva in February.
“Given the already dire humanitarian situation in Libya and the possible impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Secretary-General calls on the parties to join forces to address the threat and to ensure unhindered access of humanitarian aid throughout the country,” said Stéphane Dujarric,