Securing Ammunition in Libya

With the civilian population’s wellbeing a priority, the United Nations moved to assist the Libyans in the area of ammunition management, just as it is engaged in the form of offering training and advice in other security sector components as well as on the political, human rights, rule of law, transitional justice and public information levels.

“Our priority is public safety,” Paul Heslop, Chief of Program Planning and Operations from UNMAS, New York, said in relevance to the inauguration of the temporary ammunition storage location in Misrata.

“If we do nothing, then the danger of explosions inside towns becomes greater,” he added, explaining the merits of moving ammunition stocks currently held in private homes and shops in populated areas to more remote locations.

In his report to the UN Security Council on UNSMIL in February 2013, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the unsecured ammunition, explosive remnants of war and stockpiled weapons, including small arms, light and chemical weapons and materiel, continue to pose a serious risk to the Libyan people and to regional security. He said the UN continued to be active in training and ammunition management, search awareness and explosive ordnance disposal with the Ministries of Defence and Interior.

The importance of ammunition management was stressed again in Resolution 2095 (March 2013), which extended the mandate of UNSMIL. Among its tasks, the Mission was mandated to support Libyan efforts to counter illicit proliferation of arms and related materiel, in particular heavy and light weapons, small arms and man-portable surface-to-air missiles, including through the development of a coordinated strategy in this regard, to clear explosive remnants of war, conduct demining programmes and conventional munitions disposal, secure and manage Libya’s borders, and implement international conventions on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and materials, in coordination with the relevant UN agencies, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and international and regional partners.

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