Amnesty International urged the leader of what it described as the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, and all parties involved in the fighting to urgently open humanitarian corridors to give impartial assistance and save the lives of civilians still trapped in the city as the army advances.
Derna residents are bracing themselves for a bloody street battle as the LNA advances its control over the city. Residents say they fear trying to flee from the city because the LNA is known to profile, arbitrarily detain and disappear people they perceive as opponents, especially young men.
“We are receiving horrifying reports from Derna, where a prolonged siege and heavy fighting have left the city on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. Blockade tactics are being used to cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary men, women and children, who are now surrounded, with dwindling food, water and medical supplies, and no way out of this desperate situation,” said Heba Morayef, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
“With the LNA escalating its assault on the city, all the parties have an obligation under international humanitarian law to facilitate unimpeded access for impartial humanitarian relief, including medical supplies and food, and to allow civilians to flee the fighting without fear of arbitrary detention, harassment, intimidation and unlawful killings.”
Meanwhile, Derna has been under attacks by the Haftar-led forces and foreign aircraft among waves of displacement and deaths in the city.