By Geert Cappelaere (pictured), UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
We are shocked and saddened by reports that an entire family killed including two children today in Tripoli when a missile hit their home. This brings the total number of children killed to eight, since violence escalated in Tripoli on 27 August. Many more children are facing multiple grave child rights violations.
More children are reportedly being recruited to fight, putting them in immediate danger. At least one child was killed as a result. Over 1,200 families have been displaced in the past 48 hours alone as clashes intensified in southern Tripoli, bringing the total number of displaced to over 25,0001. UNICEF estimates half are children.
A shortage of food water and electricity is among the daily challenges facing children and families. The country is facing an outbreak of measles, with over 500 cases reported – most of which are among children. A growing lack of fully functioning health services will only result in more cases of measles.
More schools are being used to shelter displaced families, which is likely to delay the start of the school year planned for 3 October.
For children on the move transiting through Libya, this violence is increasing their already deep suffering. Hundreds of detained refugees and migrants, including children, were forced to move because of violence. Others are stranded in centres in dire conditions. UNICEF has been working to provide emergency relief to those children and continues to advocate for their release.
UNICEF calls on all parties to the conflict in Libya to protect children at all times.
The way out of the recent fighting and the crisis in Libya is not through violence but through diplomacy and a political agreement, with the interest of children at the very centre.