UNOCHA deliberates over EUFOR LIBYA deployment

19 April 2011

Misurata remains under heavy rocket, shell and sniper fire. Independent media report that pro-Ghaddafi forces are unleashing more than 100 rockets a day on what is Libya’s third largest city, and that this has resulted in scores of casualties which include children and the elderly. Human Rights Watch (HRW) have confirmed the use of Spanish made cluster munitions by pro-Ghaddafi forces in Misurata.

Between 15 and 16 April, HRW experts observed at least three MAT-120 mortars exploding over the city, one in a densely populated area only 300 metres from the main hospital. The use of cluster munitions is banned by over 108 countries as part of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Despite heavy shelling, the UNOCHA reports that humanitarian organizations have been able to deliver aid and evacuate people from the port, to safety.

Meanwhile, the office of Baroness Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is working on a plan to deploy a humanitarian military mission (Eufor Libya) to secure better access to and protection of the civilian populations in line with the mandate of resolution 1973 (2011) .

Politically, the decision as to whether this humanitarian force is deployed will have to come from the UN, specifically the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). Thus far, the head of UNOCHA, Valerie Amos has been reluctant to make that decision prior to exhausting all civilian options.

(UNOCHA, The Guardian).

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