United Nations must campaign for the protection of the Toubou minority in Libya

After new armed conflicts in southeastern Libya:

After new armed conflicts in southeastern Libya, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), asks the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, to campaign for a better protection of the distressed Toubou minority. "Human rights observers should be sent to the region around Kufra, the fought over city," said the STP's Africa-consultant, Ulrich Delius, in Göttingen on Tuesday. "Also, the UN must ensure that supplies for the distressed Toubou in Kufra are no longer blocked."

Arab militias surrounded 40,000 inhabitants in Kufra in the south-east of the country, launching rocket-attacks against the Toubou residential areas since last Friday. So far, at least 15 people were killed and 30 more wounded. Numerous houses were destroyed. In February 2012 – during armed conflicts between the Toubou and members of the Arab ethnic group Zwai – 113 Toubou and 23 Arabs were killed already. Half of the city's population has fled from the region.

At the end of March 2012, another 147 people were killed in clashes between the Toubou and Arab militias in the southern Libyan city of Sebha. This was the worst outbreak of violence since the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime. Sebha is located 940 km to the west of Kufra. Arab militias also targeted Toubou neighborhoods with their rocket-launchers, so that many members of this minority group fled from Sebha.

Alarmed by the escalation of violence in Kufra, the Libyan Government had sent troops to the region to put an end to the conflict. Members of the Toubou minority accused these soldiers to be biased and to have sided with the Arab besiegers. Eyewitnesses reported that Zwai militias had cordoned off Toubou residential areas last weekend.

The African Toubou live in fear of being expelled from Libya. Members of the dark-skinned minority had already suffered from persecution and displacement under the Gaddafi regime. From November 2009 onward, the dictator had many Toubou evicted and their homes destroyed – forcing more than 4,000 Toubou to leave their settlements and Libya altogether. Since December 2007, the Toubou were denied civil rights as well as school education and medical care. The Toubou have been living in Libya and in the neighboring countries Chad and Niger for generations. Today they feel persecuted again and are warning about a possible end of their existence in Libya.