Concerned at Worsening Plight of Civilians, Secretary General Ban Urges End to Attacks By Libyan Forces

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–7 April 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on Libyan forces to halt their attacks on civilians amid the deteriorating humanitarian situation in several cities across the North African nation, including Misrata, Brega and Zintan.

“The Secretary-General reiterates his urgent call for an immediate cessation of the indiscriminate use of military force against the civilian population and to ensure full access for humanitarian assistance,” his spokesperson said in a statement issued last night.

Conditions in the Western city of Misrata are especially grave, the statement noted, with reports of the use of heavy weapons to attack the city, where the population is trapped and unable, as a result of heavy shelling that has continued over several weeks, to receive basic supplies such as clean water, food and medicines.

The city, which has an estimated population of 300,000 people, has been the scene of continuous fighting for more than a month between military forces allied to the regime of Muammar al-Qadhafi and opposition groups.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos yesterday called on parties to the fighting in Libya to cease fire so that aid workers can rush supplies to those in need and those civilians wishing to do so can move to safer areas.

“Now is a time when people’s ability to move is a life or death matter,” she said in a statement issued by her office. “We need a temporary cessation of hostilities in the area so that people can get themselves and their families out of harm’s way, if they choose to do so.”

Mr. Ban called again on the Libyan Government to abide by Security Council resolution 1973, which demands the immediate establishment of a cease-fire and the complete end to violence and armed attacks against civilians.

He reminded all concerned parties that those responsible for such abuses can, and will, be held accountable for their actions.

Almost 450,000 people have now fled Libya since what started out as protests against Mr. al-Qadhafi’s rule turned into a full-scale battle between the Government and the opposition earlier this year.