Under attack in Libya: Foreign diplomats, lawyers, aid workers

A street in Benghazi, Libya. Attacks on Red Cross offices and bombings near the U.S. consulate occured in the city in the past days. Photo by: BBC World Service / CC BY-NC

Is the international community’s space for engagement in Libya’s rebuilding and transition process shrinking?

Members of the international community have raised concerns over recent hostilities against foreign aid groups and international employees in the North African country, particularly attacks on embassies and international aid offices. There is also mounting international pressure for the release of four International Criminal Court employees detained last week in the town of Zintan.

The past days have seen attacks on two Red Cross offices in Misrata and Benghazi and bombings near the U.S. consulate in Benghazi as well as a targeted attack on a convoy of the U.K. ambassador to Libya. These incidents have prompted fears in Libya that Islamist extremists are attempting to sabotage the country’s first post-revolution election scheduled in July, The Washington Post says

The United Nations, ICC and Australia, meanwhile, continue to pressure the Libyan government to release an Australian ICC defense lawyer and her colleagues. Libya put lawyer Melinda Taylor and her team from ICC under house arrest June 7, citing national security reasons. The ICC team was in in Libya for a meeting with Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of deposed leader Moammar Gadhafi.

“These four international civil servants have immunity when on an official ICC mission,” ICC President Sang-Hyun Song said. “I call on the Libyan authorities to immediately take all necessary measures to ensure their safety and security and to liberate them.”

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.

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