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Amnesty International fears COVID19 spread in southern Libya due to marginalization

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

SABHA – Amnesty International has expressed concerns that COVID-19 could spread in cities located in southern Libya because of the marginalization that the region endures.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Amnesty International called on Libyan authorities to “ensure that those most marginalized are factored into their emergency public health response to the spread of COVID-19”.

“Libya’s public health system has been undermined by years of armed conflict and insecurity including attacks on medical facilities, the exodus of qualified medical personnel and frequent militia interference in the provision of medical services,” Amnesty said. ”

“In addition to these general risks, pre-existing discrimination against ethnic minority groups such as the Tabu and Tuareg create additional barriers to their access to healthcare.”

““Fears of the spread of COVID-19 in southern Libya expose the vulnerable circumstances of minority communities who have long struggled to enjoy equal access to health care. Owing to years of armed conflict, insecurity and neglect, the Libyan south as a whole is woefully unprepared for the pandemic, as it lacks adequate testing facilities, protective equipment and qualified health workers. The situation of minorities is of particular concern, as they face additional hurdles in accessing the two largest and best equipped hospitals in the area,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty’s MENA Deputy Regional Director.

The organization said it spoke to medical professionals, activists and journalists across the Libyan south.

Since Libya reported its first COVID-19 case on March 24, the figures have grown to 51 confirmed cases and one death.

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