2017 | The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative

EXCERPT FROM BACKGROUND:

“Armed conflict, insecurity, and political instability have impacted civilians in Libya, with far-reaching and devastating effects on children. Libya remains politically divided and volatile, with fighting nearly six years after the revolution in 2011. In January 2017, the situation in Libya was still considered serious, with escalating tensions and the threat of renewed conflict following developments in central Libya. Since 2014, child protection concerns have increased dramatically with continued armed confrontations and the expansion of terrorist groups. Children are particularly affected by protracted fighting in Benghazi as well as sporadic armed clashes in Ajdabiya, Darnah, Kufra, Sabha, Sirte, Tripoli and the oil crescent. Children are victims of indiscriminate shelling in residential areas, air strikes, suicide bombings, crossfire as well as summary executions by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The recruitment and use of children is prevalent and the abduction of children by armed groups, militias, and criminal organisations is on the rise. Children, especially in western and southern Libya, are reportedly targeted for kidnappings, which are motivated by ransom.  Schools as well as medical facilities and personnel have also come under attack, with 40 schools reportedly damaged or destroyed in 2015. Conflict in Libya has forced civilians, including children, to flee their homes. An estimated half a million civilians have been internally displaced, with numbers increasing since September 2016. Internally displaced persons (IDPs), the non-displaced conflict-affected population, refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants are among the 1.3 million people estimated to be in need of protection and some form of humanitarian assistance, with 439,000 children in need of humanitarian assistance at the end of 2016. IDPs have taken refuge in IDP camps, schools, factories and even empty water tanks. Children assessed in IDP camps have exhibited moderate to severe post-stress symptoms. Libya also serves as an important, yet perilous route for child migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. Notably, migrant children are often arbitrarily detained and exposed to abuse and exploitation.”