EUFOR Libya: Oxfam warns of unnecessary, expensive & dangerous precedent

As the European Union is getting ready to send a European-led (EUFOR) military mission to Libya to support the United Nations’ humanitarian efforts, Oxfam International issued the following statement. 

Jamie Balfour-Paul, Oxfam’s Spokesperson for the Middle East, said:

“The decision to send EU troops to support any humanitarian effort should be taken as a last resort only. We’re definitely not at this point in Libya, and all other options must be looked at before Brussels should be allowed to go ahead with its plan.

“Our experience in countries in crisis around the world shows that blurring the lines between military operations and humanitarian work is never a good idea. The risk that some parties involved start viewing the aid agencies and the people receiving the aid as partisan or as part of the same military operation is very real.

“Humanitarians such as the United Nations agencies or the Red Cross have been doing what they do best for decades. In short, until the aid community requests military help there is no place for military involvement in the delivery of humanitarian aid. The request for EU military support should be coming from top officials at the UN, not from EU officials or member states.

“The support from the European Union so far has been vital, particularly its contribution to the UN appeal. It needs to focus further support on the provision of civilian assets, such as ships and planes, to assist the UN and NGOs in getting supplies into areas where there is restricted access, such as Misrata. This should be backed by a united and intensified diplomatic effort to end hostilities and reach a satisfactory political outcome to the conflict. Such an outcome must bring lasting security and the rule of law for the Libyan people and ensure their rights and freedoms.”

Contact information: 

Angela Corbalan on + 32 473 56 22 60 or angela.corbalan@oxfaminternational.org.