In Libya, Humanity & Inclusion continues to run programs under the operating name "Handicap International."
Handicap International’s overall response to the ongoing crisis in Libya works to increase protection of the most vulnerable, including internally displaced people (IDPs), refugees, and those exposed and impacted by the high level of contamination of explosive weapons. The organization is providing basic medical assistance, including rehabilitation care while also supporting local health and rehabilitation centers. Humanity & Inclusion currently employs 17 local staff in Libya.
Handicap International has been working in Libya since March 2011. Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime, Libya has been wracked by violence between rival militia and the uncontrolled influx of weapons, creating a situation of ongoing insecurity. Main challenges now lie in the country's ability to implement a peace process and ensure the rehabilitation and stability of its institutions. Additionally, large numbers of landmines, cluster munitions, and other explosive devices were used in Libya and tons of weapons still lay scattered throughout the country, posing a grave risk to civilians. During the fighting, many small arms and light weapons became accessible to the civilian population, and subsequent armed violence and weapons-related accidents have caused numerous deaths and injuries. According to UNHCR, as of July 2017, Libya is home to more than 435,000 IDPs and 9,300 refugees.
Protecting Vulnerable Populations
Handicap International has deployed a mobile team to identify the most vulnerable displaced people, especially children and people with disabilities in need of medical care. Individuals are provided with rehabilitation and psychosocial support directly by Handicap International or are referred to nearby health centers. Handicap International also supports 11 health centers, trains staff, distributes orthopedic devices and provides information to medical staff and patients.
Handicap International's previous actions in Libya have included:
Three teams were deployed in Tripoli, working primarily in the districts most affected by the fighting to identify, remove, and destroy mines and other explosive remnants of war. The teams identified, destroyed or secured more than 5,000 dangerous objects.
Mine Risk Education
Since the start of its operations, Handicap International has trained 900 Libyan nationals to educate communities about the risks posed by landmines and other unexploded remnants of war.
Handicap International’s teams and its partners work directly in schools and businesses, and with local authorities. More than 93,000 people have attended awareness sessions.
Small Arms Risk Awareness
In addition to the danger of landmines and unexploded ordnance, Handicap International has identified the risk posed by light weapons in the hands of civilians who do not know how to handle them. With the support of local partners, the organization is focusing its activities on risk education.
Awareness-raising teams deliver prevention messages in schools and workplaces, working in collaboration with the authorities and local organizations. Since 2011, Handicap International has distributed 240,000 leaflets to at-risk populations (51,500 of which reached children), and posted 30,000 billboards in towns where these weapons are particularly widespread. And 110,000 people, for the most part children, have attended awareness-raising sessions.
The project did experience a six-month suspension of work due to safety concerns, but restarted operations again in February 2015.