Since 2011, as part of an integrated Libya-Tunisia programme, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and its demining department the Danish Demining Group (DDG) have worked in Libya. This has been in conjunction with the revolution against the 42-year regime of Colonel Gaddafi. DRC and DDG work on a range of issues impacting on the lives of conflict-affected population, including both Libyans and asylum seekers and migrants.
Some problems, such as the widespread presence of Unexploded Ordnance, stem from recent conflict during the 2011 revolution and its aftermath.
During the long Gaddafi era, Libya was isolated from the world, failing to adopt a number of key international conventions which would help guarantee safety and protection for its citizens and others living within its borders. This includes the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the 1997 ‘Ottawa Treaty’ banning anti-personnel mines. DRC and DDG work to provide immediate protection to people whose rights to safety and dignity are threatened, as well as to build durable protection mechanisms, qualified local capacities and supportive community structures. This is achieved by working with governmental bodies and local communities.
With funding from Europe Development Aid, the US Department of State, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the United Nations, DDG works in Tripoli, in Sabha, the main city of southern Libya, as well as Sirte, Tawargha and Obari in Southern Libya, and Misrata. The DDG programme aims to contribute to recreating a safe environment where communities in Libya can live without the threat of mines, Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), and small arms. This is done through Risk Education (RE) activities and the release of productive land through ERW disposal.
DDG has established an institutional partnership with the local demining organisation Free Fields Foundation (3F) to conduct ERW RE and clearance. This is also in close coordination with the mandated national authority the Libyan Mine Action Center (LibMAC), local authorities and community based organisations.