All civilians deserve protection, but some civilians deserve more protection than others. Or so it seems in Libya today.
Two years ago, the U.N. Security Council authorized a military operation by NATO with a mandate to protect civilians who were under attack by Moammar Gadhafi’s forces. That operation led to Gadhafi’s fall.
Today, long after the fighting has stopped, those who are rightly or wrongly perceived to have supported Gadhafi are under threat. Thousands of women and children have been displaced from their homes and living in camps, often harassed. Men have been detained, tortured and killed. They need protection, but the nations that intervened two years ago have done virtually nothing on their behalf.
The most pressing case involves the former residents of the town of Tawergha, which had a pre-war population of about 42,000. Tawerghans formerly enjoyed Gadhafi’s financial and political support, and the town became a military staging ground during the 2011 war. Many fighting age men from Tawergha joined Gadhafi’s fight.