UNDP describes the current situation in Libya as “catastrophic”

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JOHANNESBURG, January 14 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Achim Steiner has described the current situation in Libya as catastrophic as a result of the political vacuum.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Steiner accused some militias of exploiting the disorder to earn illegal money, saying these groups would not allow a genuine democratic process, in order to protect their interests.

The UN administrator added that the international organisation could not force the warring parties, by force of arms, to respect the rule of law as he stressed that local participants have to decide for themselves that they want to negotiate and come to the table for talks.

In a further reference to the myriad rampaging militias – which exert control over large swatches of Libya in the post-revolutionary chaos following the Arab Spring of 2011 and the overthrow of late leader Muammar Gadaffi – UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has called on the Libyan authorities to rein them in.

Guterres said that some of the militias are responsible for running migrant-smuggling networks in the country. In a report last week to the Security Council he said that torture and arbitrary detention were widespread in Libya.

“About 6,400 detainees are held in 26 official prisons but thousands of others are being held in facilities with little government control or directly run by armed groups,” the report read.

Guterres added that he remains deeply concerned about widespread human rights violations and abuses committed in the context of detention and the prolonged arbitrary detention of thousands of men, women and children without due process,the Libya Herald reported.

According to the UN chief there has also been an increase in the number of migrants and refugees who were detained over the past six months.

“About 5,300 refugees and migrants have been detained in Libya, of whom 3,700 were in need of international protection. In all, there are over 669,000 migrants in Libya, of whom women and children make up 21 percent.” (ANA)