A thousand leading figures from across Libya have signed the Call for Unity launched on 24 March to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Signed by some of Libya’s leading doctors, health professionals, mayors of towns and cities, parliamentarians and other political and media figures, the Call urges the war-torn nation’s divided institutions to work together to tackle the disease and its potentially devastating impact due to the country’s critical humanitarian situation.

The Call in Arabic

Translation in English

The Call seeks to:

  • Facilitate safe passage for medical equipment and personnel to all areas, even where hostilities are taking place;
  • Promote the sharing of information to allow an objective assessment of medical needs throughout the country;
  • Improve coordination between health organisations and institutions;
  • Increase distribution of medical and technical equipment, and other necessary materials;
  • Coordinate security measures to ensure successful curfews and curtail the spread of the virus;
  • Provide necessary goods to rural and remote areas to avoid the movement of citizens to major population centers;
  • Address the needs of the thousands of migrants, refugees and detainees held in camps and detention centres.

The ongoing conflict in Libya has caused untold suffering to many of its civilians; it has also weakened the nation’s health sector, limiting the country’s capacity to respond to the pandemic.

Efforts to prepare, prevent and slow the spread of the disease therefore remain crucial. The Call seeks to contribute to these efforts in a rare display of unity and civil solidarity among Libyan citizens.

“Libyans from across the country have joined this Call to unite efforts and protect the health of their fellow citizens,” said Romain Grandjean, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue’s (HD) Middle East and North Africa Director.

“I commend the courage of the signatories who have taken an important step in this time of continued fighting in Libya. I now urge national leaders and institutions to respond rapidly in order to avoid the catastrophic effects of such an unprecedented crisis.”

Ambassador Alan Bugeja, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Libya, is also supporting the Call.

He appealed to Libyans to come together in solidarity: “Libyan friends and partners, you can only fight the COVID-19 pandemic if you all join your efforts throughout your country. There is no other way.”

He added: “Those who are making the appeal include the foremost Libyan health experts and practitioners. They know the real risks should Libya fail to make this fight an overriding national priority.”

HD is supporting the signatories in the implementation of the Call’s provisions. HD has been facilitating contacts with the country’s leading doctors, international experts in epidemiology and hospital management, as well as Libyan doctors abroad to assess needs, share expertise and devise solutions to a rapidly deteriorating situation.

HD will continue to work with the signatories and parties to the conflict to facilitate humanitarian aid and help mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

More information can be found on the Facebook page of the Call.