Woman with a child at a migrant detention center in Zawiya, 30 km from Tripoli. PHOTO/ARCHIVE/ANSA/ZUHAIR ABUSREWIL
Woman with a child at a migrant detention center in Zawiya, 30 km from Tripoli. PHOTO/ARCHIVE/ANSA/ZUHAIR ABUSREWIL

UNICEF has voiced its concern about the over 1,000 minors among the 3,000 migrants held in Libyan detention centers in conflict zones. ''They have already suffered all types of torture and the worst is feared,'' said the Italian branch spokesman.

"About 1.5 million people including 500,000 children have been affected by the conflict underway in Tripoli and the western part of Libya," the Italian branch of the United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF warned on Tuesday. ''In addition to some 40,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), we are concerned about the future of the migrants held in detention centers. We are speaking about over 1,000 minors among 3,000 migrants in detention centers in conflict zones. They have already suffered all types of torture and the worst is feared,'' Italian branch spokesman Andrea Iacomini said. 


Children more vulnerable in conflict 

''Among the civilians forced to flee their homes, children are the most vulnerable. The school year was interrupted in the areas affected by the violence, leaving about 122,000 children out of school in nine municipalities near Tripoli,'' Iacomini said. 

''Many schools in other parts of Tripoli have been closed because teachers are not able to get to work or parents are reluctant to send their children to school due to security concerns. There are currently 14 schools in Tripoli and Azzawiya that have been transformed into centers to host displaced families.'' 

''An immediate response is needed to prevent Libya, already disturbed by latent conflict for over 7 years with 850,000 people in need, from turning into another humanitarian catastrophe,'' Iacomini said. 

Number of Tripoli IDPs rises to 42,000 

Meanwhile, the number of people displaced since the beginning of the most recent fighting in Libya has risen to 42,000, according to the UN's humanitarian agency OCHA in an update. OCHA underscored that one child had been killed and three others injured in airstrikes over the past 3 days, according to sources working in the healthcare sector. The armed conflict continues to affect healthcare facilities, the statement added, such as when an April 28 bombing damaged a hospital in Espeaa, south of Tripoli. This incident led to the evacuation and temporary interruption of healthcare services. 

OCHA noted that the international community would like to remind all the parties to the conflict that the principle of proportionality - according to international humanitarian law - must be respected. It called on all parties to avoid the indiscriminate use of force, as well as the use of artillery and airstrikes, in civilian areas. Some 3,350 refugees and migrants are still trapped in detention centers located in areas affected by fighting or in areas at risk of armed conflict. 
 

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