The UNSMIL said on Wednesday that a group of internally displaced persons (IDPs), activists, civil society organizations members and some representatives of those displaced from Benghazi attended a two-day consultative meeting in Tunis to discuss the future dialogue process in Libya.
According to the statement posted on the UNSMIL website, both the UNSMIL and UN Development Program facilitated the consultations as part of the project “Towards National Reconciliation in Libya,” which acts in support of local dialogue processes and mediation efforts throughout Libya.
"The meeting was the first in a series of consultations with various stakeholders, in the west and in east regions, concerning the return of IDPs from Benghazi. During the two-day meeting, participants identified the main causes of displacement." The UNSMIL remarked.
The UNSMIL added that the attendees stressed everyone’s right to return to Benghazi in a safe and dignified manner, freedom of movement, the right to non-discrimination and the right to not be deprived of one’s property.
"Since May 2014, an estimated 13,000 families (about 100,000 people) have fled Benghazi for elsewhere in Libya or abroad. Many settled in Tripoli, Misrata, and Zliten while others left the country. Very few have been able to return to their homes," according to the UNSMIL's statement.
Very few families of the thousands displaced since 2014, when Khalifa Haftar started his Dignity Operation in Benghazi, returned home with some being abducted or killed, pushing the rest to flee once again to safer areas.
Haftar's loyalists accuse the young men from Benghazi, whose families fled the city, of being part of terrorist groups and of opposing Haftar's self-styled army, taking that as a pretext to seize their properties in the city.