Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 02 February 2016

Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2014

Unknown, many thousands

Casualties in 2014

10 (2013: 60)

2014 casualties by outcome

1 killed; 9 injured (2013: 2 killed; 58 injured)

2014 casualties by device type

2 explosive remnants of war (ERW); 1 unexploded submunition; 2 antipersonnel mine; 5 unknown device


In 2014 only 10 mine/ERW casualties were reported for the State of Libya and available data was known to be incomplete.[1] All casualties were male, six were men and two were children, for two casualties the age was not recoded. Due to the security situation several operators were forced to leave Libya and therefore casualties went largely unrecorded. It is likely that many more casualties occurred and therefore that additional casualties for the year will be recorded when the security situation stabilizes. In 2013, there were at least 60 mine/ERW casualties in Libya. [2]

The total number of casualties in Libya is not known; all available estimates predate the 2011 conflict, when many new casualties occurred. The Libyan Demining Association (LDA) and the Libyan Civil Defense Department had registered 1,852 mine casualties by the end of 2006.[3] Previous estimates were approximately 12,000, with the Libyan police reporting 11,845 casualties between 1940 and 1995 (6,749 killed; 5,096 injured) and the Libyan Jihad Center for Historical Studies reporting 12,258 (3,874 killed; 8,384 injured) between 1952 and 1975.[4]

Cluster munition casualties

The total number of cluster munition casualties in Libya is not known. One casualty from an unexploded submunition was identified among the 10 recorded casualties in 2014.

There was no available information on casualties during the cluster munition strikes that occurred in 2011. Media reports identified four casualties from unexploded submunitions between April and June 2011: three in Ajdabiya in the Al Wahat district and one in Misrata.[5] However, it was not possible to distinguish the devices that caused these casualties from other types of ERW. Two of the four reported submunition casualties, boys 10 and 15 years old injured in Ajdabiya, were also later reported to have been injured by a hand grenade.[6] The explosive device type of the remaining two casualties could not be confirmed and were recorded as ERW casualties by the Libyan Mine Action Centre (LibMAC).[7]

Victim Assistance

Libya is responsible for survivors of landmines and other types of ERW. The total number of survivors is unknown. Outdated estimates ranged from 5,000 to 8,000 survivors through 1995.[8]

Victim assistance since 1999 [9]

Throughout the period since 1999 until early 2011, mine/ERW survivors were able to receive free medical care through the reasonably well-developed Libyan healthcare system.

Between 2000 and 2008, Italy provided support through building renovations, training, and planning to the Benghazi Rehabilitation Center, the only physical rehabilitation center in the country. However, during the period, the center was unable to operate at full capacity due to a lack of qualified staff, materials, and a data management system..

At several Meetings of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Libya called on countries who had used mines in Libya to “provide…assistance to the victims, and to rehabilitate them.”[10] There was no information available on economic and social inclusion initiatives or psychological support to survivors during the period.

All victim assistance, but especially emergency and ongoing medical care, was disrupted by the armed conflict that started in February 2011. The availability of medical care decreased in 2011 as thousands of foreign medical professionals working in Libya returned to their countries of origin, and power cuts, lack of funding, and a lack of medical supplies prevented the remaining medical professionals from responding to the increased demand for emergency care from mine/ERW survivors and other victims of the conflict.[11] International organizations responded to this disruption and assisted hospitals to resume care provided to the increasing numbers of new mine/ERW survivors. In August 2011, the Benghazi Rehabilitation Center resumed production of prosthetics and orthotics.[12]

By 2013, there were three prosthetics and orthotics service providers and two rehabilitation centers in the country. In 2013, the University of Misrata worked to set up, within the compound of the University hospital, a small physical rehabilitation center for disabled people in the area, with the support of the ICRC.[13] Other organizations limited some activities or withdrew from the country.

No victim assistance coordination or planning was possible; national and international efforts remained focused on providing immediate relief to the large numbers of war-wounded, including mine/ERW survivors, and rebuilding the health sector.

Assessing victim assistance needs

No survivor assessments were reported for 2014.

Victim assistance coordination[14]

Government coordinating body/focal point

Ministry of Health and Ministry of Culture and Civil Society (MCCS)

Coordinating mechanism





In December 2011, the LibMAC was established within the Ministry of Defense to manage all mine action activities in the country.[15] Responsibility for victim assistance lay with the Ministry of Health and the MCCS.[16] The Ministry of Social Affairs was primarily responsible for physical rehabilitation in Libya, although the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Martyrs, Missing and War Wounded were also active in the field of physical rehabilitation.[17] There was no national plan for victim assistance.

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Victim assistance activities[18]

Name of organization

Type of organization

Type of activity

Changes in quality/coverage of service in 2014

Ministry of Social Affairs


Managed Benghazi Rehabilitation Center

Ongoing rehabilitation services

Ministry of Health


Managed Janzour Rehabilitation Centre in Tripoli

Ongoing basic rehabilitation services

Médecins sans Frontières (MSF)

International NGO

Mental healthcare for violence-affected people

Opened a mental health center in Tripoli in August 2013 targeting people suffering from physical and mental health problems related to violence, but was forced to close due to the security situation

International Medical Corps (IMC)

International NGO

Primary healthcare, psychological support and mental healthcare, strengthening physical rehabilitation



International Organization

War surgery training, evacuation of mine/ERW survivors and other war wounded, strengthening physical rehabilitation; providing emergency and first-level care training for members of the ICRC National Society, emergency service and hospital staff, and civil defense personnel

Work with rehabilitation centers suspended in 2014


Emergency and ongoing medical care

Following escalated violence in the country in 2014, wounded people received treatment from 22 hospitals and 28 Libyan Red Crescent branches and primary health care centers with medical supplies from the ICRC.[19] It was reported that in 2014 medical staff, including doctors, as well as other public service workers were not able to travel to work, “either because it is not safe to do so, or because they have no fuel to put into their cars.” A number of medical staff also left the country.[20] Medical conditions were under severe strain in Benghazi in 2014, with medical supplied blocked or destroyed by fighting.[21]

Physical rehabilitation, including prosthetics

In Libya, ICRC operations were “challenged by the increasingly insecure working environment and renewed armed fighting, compounded by the existence of a general political and security vacuum.”[22] A building was constructed within the compound of the university and two ICRC specialists were assigned to work in Misrata to support the opening of the center in 2014.[23] However physical rehabilitation projects suffered due to the security situation. ICRC activities were suspended at the University of Misrata and the University of Tripoli.[24]

After ceasing direct assistance to the Benghazi Rehabilitation Center in 2012,[25] the ICRC had worked closely with Misrata University and the associations of weapon-wounded people to establish an orthopedic workshop for disabled people in and around Misrata, an area with a high number of war-wounded people.[26]

Economic inclusion

There was no information available on economic inclusion initiatives for mine/ERW survivors in 2014.

Psychological support

In August 2013, MSF opened a mental health center in Tripoli to help people suffering from physical and mental health problems related to violence.[27] The project closed in 2014 due to insecurity and armed confict.[28]

Laws and policies

The 2011 Constitutional Declaration addresses the rights of persons with disabilities and requires the state to provide monetary and other types of social assistance, but does not explicitly prohibit discrimination. In 2014, the government did not effectively enforce these provisions due to administrative incapacity. Few public buildings were accessible to persons with disabilities, resulting in restricted access to employment, education, and healthcare.[29]

Article 1 of Law 4 of 2013 related to persosn with disabilities “from the liberation battle” created a new category of persons with disability for those who sustained permanent impairments while fighting for the 2011 uprising and against the previous regime. The category also applies to persons who sustained injuries as civilians from attacks by that regime. This new category received more benefits as compared to other persons with disabilities. The NGO Lawyers for Justice in Libya noted that the disparity “highlights inequality in the treatment of people with disabilities as well as discriminating between them on the basis of political association.”[30]

Libya signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 1 May 2008. In 2015 on the occasion of Libya’s human rights Universal Periodic Review it was reported that persons with disabilities in Libya had experienced “little to no progress in relation to their rights and treatment” since the previous review. Libya has taken few practical steps to integrate persons with disabilities into society, to improve education materials or to adopt measures to reduce costs and thereby make transportation or education more affordable for persons with disabilities.[31]



[1] Monitor analysis of casualty data provided by Bridget Forster, Senior Programme Officer, UNMAS, 17 March 2015.

[2] Monitor analysis of casualty data provided by: emails from Cat Smith, Head of Mission Handicap International (HI), Libya, 12 June 2014; from Adullatif Abu Jarida, IMSMA Officer, Libya Mine Action Center (LibMAC), 3 June 2014; and from Brenda Floors, Community Liaison Manager, Mines Advisory Group (MAG), 25 June 2014; and media monitoring 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013. The age of one casualty was unknown.

[3] Prior to February 2011, the LDA had been part of the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation (GICDF) and was known as the Anti-Mines Association.

[4] Ahmed Besharah, “World War II mines planted in Libya and its socio-economic impact,” Libyan Jihad Center for Historical Studies, Tripoli, 1995, p. 153.

[5] UNICEF, “Libya: Protecting children from unexploded ordnance,” Misrata, 6 June 2011; Ruth Sherlock, “Unlucky camel finds Libya’s largest minefield,” Al Jazeera, 28 June 2011; email from James Wheeler, Photographer, 10 August 2011; and UNICEF, “UNICEF Situation Report # 19 - Sub-regional Libya crisis,” 29 June 2011.

[6] UNICEF, “Libya: Protecting children from unexploded ordnance,” Misrata, 6 June 2011.

[7] Casualty data provided via emails from Abdulmonem Alaiwan, LMAC, 17 June 2012; and from Jennifer Reeves, ICRC, 16 July 2012.

[8] Ahmed Besharah, “World War II mines planted in Libya and its socio-economic impact,” Libyan Jihad Center for Historical Studies, Tripoli, 1995, p. 153.

[9] See previous Libya country profiles available on the Monitor website.

[10] Statement of Libya, Eighth Meeting of States Parties, Dead Sea, 18 November 2007; and statement of Libya, Ninth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 26 November 2008.

[11]Overstretched health service needs sustained support,” IRIN News (Benghazi), 1 September 2011; and WHO, “Libya Crisis Update,” August 2011.

[12] ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programme (PRP), “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, September 2014.

[13] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, September 2014; and ICRC, “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, May 2014, pp. 165 and 167.

[14] ICRC, “Annual Report 2012,” Geneva, May 2013; and ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, September 2014.

[15] UNMAS, “Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,” undated.

[16] Email from Abdulmonem Alaiwan, LMAC, 17 June 2012.

[17] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, September 2014.

[18] Following the start of conflict in February 2011, numerous international organizations began providing humanitarian relief to the Libyan population. The organizations listed here are those whose response included a focus on the care and rehabilitation of injuries from explosive weapons such as mines and ERW. Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), “International Activity Report 2013 – Libya,” 31 December 2013; MSF, “Libya: The challenge of medical aid,” 1 July 2015; MSF, “Libya: 2014 Activity Report,” undated; International Medical Corps (IMC), “Libya,” undated; Human Study e.V., “Where we work: Libya” undated; ICRC, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, May 2015, pp. 163–167; and ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, September 2014.

[19] ICRC, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, May 2015, p. 165.

[20]Libya insecurity forces aid workers to leave,” The Guardian, 10 August 2014.

[21] “Conditions worsen in Benghazi as fighting intensifies,” IRIN, 5 November 2014.

[22] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, 2015, 39.

[23] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, September 2014.

[24] ICRC, “Annual Report 2014,” Geneva, May 2015, p. 166.

[25] ICRC PRP, “Annual Report 2012,” Geneva, May 2013, pp. 25 and 37.

[26] ICRC, “Annual Report 2013,” Geneva, May 2014, p. 167.

[27] MSF, “International Activity Report 2013 – Libya,” 31 December 2013; and MSF, “Libya: 2014 Activity Report,” undated.

[28] MSF, “Libya: 2014 Activity Report,” undated

[29] United States Department of State, “2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Libya,” Washington, DC, 25 June 2015.

[31] Ibid.