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  • Writer's pictureOvith Thiyagalingam

Libya: A Country in Political Crisis

This article discusses themes of violence and political conflict and may be triggering for some readers.

“Leaders in Libya must take immediate steps to resolve their political impasse, which is spilling over into increasing violence.”

– Rosemary DiCarlo, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs

Political Conflict

Libya has been in a deep state of instability and political turmoil following the NATO-supported uprising in 2011, which toppled Muammar Gaddafi’s decades-long dictatorship rule of the North African country.

Divided between two opposing administrations, the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Libya’s west side in the capital, Tripoli, and the Libyan National Army (LNA) located in the east, Libya’s power struggle continues to leave much of the country’s civilian population impoverished and exposed to internal armed conflict and violence.

Formed in March 2021, the new interim Government of National Unity (GNU) has sought to bring peace and reunify the country and its national institutions. However, after failing to execute the long-awaited and planned national election in December 2021, and with current Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, refusing to step down, simmering political tensions have resulted in increasing numbers of violent clashes and civilian casualties.

Opposition leader, Fathi Bashagha, who was appointed to the position of Prime Minister by the parliament in the east, has been trying to enter Libya’s capital, which has further incited elevated levels of armed conflict between Dbeibah’s and Bashagha’s supporters.

On August 27, 2022, 42 people were killed and 160 injured during a recent armed clash between supporters of each faction. Over 50 families were displaced, and several civilian health centres experienced significant structural damage.

The persisting political stalemate has impacted people’s fundamental human rights to basic services and access to healthcare, education, food, water and sanitation.

Given the situation of limited political progress towards an election, as well as the rapidly deteriorating political and security environment in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, the Canadian government must exercise its commitment to global peace and security by doing its part to help resolve the conflict in Libya. For example, Canadian federal policymakers experienced with election policies can work with Libyan policymakers to effectively organize and execute a neutral election, which will aim to bring political stability to Libya.

Student Action

Students and youth in Canada have an important role in supporting international peace and conflict resolution.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Better inform yourself on what’s happening in Libya by accessing reliable and credible news sources.

  2. Spread the word and promote awareness to the political conflict and resulting human rights impact on ordinary Libyan citizens.

  3. Demand the Government of Canada to offer increased international aid to affected Libyan citizens and refugees.

  4. Help refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Libya access life-saving humanitarian assistance by donating to UNHCR Canada.

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