Oxfam position on Libya following UNSC resolution 1973 of 17th March

Published: 18th March 2011

Oxfam believes that the protection of civilians is of the utmost importance and welcomes the concerns clearly expressed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the safety and welfare of civilians in Libya, who remain at risk of being targeted by military forces. Given the volatility of the current situation, we remain seriously concerned about the exposure of civilians to violence over the coming days and urge that any military action not further endanger civilian lives.

The UNSC decision needs to be used as an opportunity for expediting a political resolution to the crisis. To this end, we encourage the key international actors – notably the UNSC, the members of the League of Arab States (LAS) and of the Africa Union (AU) – to intensify their diplomatic efforts for a political outcome which secures the full political and economic rights of the Libyan people.

If military action is taken by the international community on the basis of the UNSC resolution, it is essential that this is designed and implemented in a way that maximizes the protection of civilians. Such operations are complex and unpredictable, and must be undertaken with great care. We therefore call on the international community to ensure there is monitoring of the conduct of all parties to the conflict in Libya, and regular reporting to the UN Security Council

We are deeply concerned that the UN and other agencies have not been able to assess humanitarian needs in the west of Libya, and urge the international community, and especially the AU on its forthcoming mission to Libya, to press for humanitarian access.

Given the potential influx of refugees, there is also a need to increase preparedness for humanitarian action on the Tunisian and especially the Egyptian border.

Contact information

Ian Bray, Senior Press Officer, tel +44 (0)1865 472289, cell +44 (0)7721 461339, ibray@oxfam.org.uk

Louis Belanger, Humanitarian Media Officer, tel +1 212 687 2678, cell +1 917 224 0834, louis.belanger@oxfaminternational.org, twitter @louis_press