The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict (A/70/836–S/2016/360) issued on 20 April 2016.
Protracted fighting continued in Benghazi, and sporadic armed clashes occurred in Ajdabiya, Darnah, Kufrah, Sabha, Sirte, Tripoli and the oil crescent. Groups pledging allegiance to ISIL expanded and gained territory in central Libya. Access for monitoring continued to be restricted by insecurity, and United Nations international staff were located outside the country.
The recruitment and use of children by armed groups was reported. For example, groups affiliated with ISIL reportedly operated training camps south of Sirte, with a graduation ceremony for 85 children under 16 years of age reportedly held in December. It has been reported that children have been exposed to sexual violence during their association with armed groups.
At least 60 children were reportedly casualties of indiscriminate shelling of residential areas, air strikes, suicide bombings and crossfire, the majority in Benghazi. Summary executions of children were also reported, with groups affiliated with ISIL allegedly beheading a 17-year-old boy in Hawarah in May.
In Benghazi, 40 schools were reportedly damaged or destroyed, including through indiscriminate shelling. The United Nations also documented a case of military use of a school as a detention facility by the Darnah Mujahideen Shura Council. Attacks on hospitals and medical personnel continued. The Benghazi medical centre was shelled at least four times, and four medical personnel were reportedly killed on duty in an ambulance on 6 May. The abduction and killing of medical personnel by armed groups, including groups affiliated to Operation Karamah, was documented in Ajdabiya, Benghazi and Darnah.
In the context of the breakdown of law and order, there was a rise in the abduction of children by armed groups, militias and criminal organizations. For example, the body of a 16-year-old boy, reportedly abducted by militias affiliated with Operation Karamah, was found in Benghazi in December.
In June, an armed group believed to belong to the Magarha tribe abducted seven staff of a Libyan humanitarian organization; the whereabouts of the abductees remains unknown.
The United Nations engaged with the Constitution Drafting Assembly to include guarantees of children’s rights in the draft constitution. I welcome the decision of the Zintan Municipal Council of February 2016 to release and reintegrate child soldiers, and look forward to its implementation with the support of UNICEF.