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UN says 250,000 displaced by fighting in Libya

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A quarter of a million people have fled because of recent fighting and serious human rights violations in Libya, the UN human rights office said on Thursday in Geneva.

At least 100,000 Libyans have become refugees in their own country, while 150,000 people – including many migrant workers – have left Libya, according to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In recent months Libya has experienced its worst violence since dictator Moamer Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.

Rival militias have been battling each other, mainly in Tripoli and Benghazi.

There is evidence that armed groups have resorted to indiscriminate shelling in those two cities, leaving at least 214 people dead, said the UN report, which covers the period between mid-May and late August.

“Indiscriminate attacks constitute war crimes, as are attacks on civilians or civilian objects, such as airports,” it said.

It added that civilians had been abducted and tortured.

The fighting has also effectively wiped out Libya’s justice system, the UN said.

“The courts in Tripoli effectively stopped functioning during the reporting period,” it said.

The justice ministry came under rebel control last month, while courts in Benghazi, Sirte and Derna have been suspended since March.

Since Gaddafi’s overthrow, Libya’s rulers have struggled to re-establish security, and the country has been paralyzed by political infighting and the proliferation of militias and weapons.

Two rival parliaments, the National Congress and the recently-elected House of Representatives, are vying to set up government control over the oil-rich country. SAPA

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