UNICEF’s Special Representative in Libya, Ghassan Khalil, has commended the decision of Zintan’s Municipal Council for the release, rehabilitation and reintegration of any child under 18, involved in the armed conflicts, and the establishment of a rehabilitation centre in the city that will also serve adults who as children were involved previously in armed conflicts.
Zintan Mayor Mustafa Al-Baroni expressed hope that all Libyan politicians and civil society organizations would exert more efforts to support reconciliation, stability, peace, safety and security in the country to build a state of justice, law and welfare.
“The future generations should inherit development and prosperity; we should leave for our children an environment of stability and security instead of hatred and grudges.” He added.
UNICEF’s Special Representative expressed his concern about the recruitment of children in armed groups,
“I would like to stress again to all the opposing parties in Libya that according to humanitarian law, the recruitment of children in armed groups is a crime against humanity, and I urge all parties all over Libya to prevent the involvement of children under 18 years of age in the armed conflict. I assert again that UNICEF is ready to provide the necessary support for the release, rehabilitation and reintegration of all children.” He stated.
Khalil encouraged Zintan’s municipality to adopt a community approach in providing psychosocial support and mental health services for released children, and in ensuring that they are equipped with life skills and enrolled in schools which will guarantee them a better start and a positive engagement in the society.
An agreement was concluded on February 20 to establish a joint Steering Committee. which involves 18 municipal councils, to work on developing a comprehensive work plan for release, rehabilitation and reintegration of children involved in armed conflit, aligned with international standards.