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UN Official Deplores Human Rights Abuses in Libya

Martin Kobler, head of the U.N. Support Mission in Libya, talks to reporters after his address to the 33rd Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Sept. 27, 2016.

The U.N. envoy for Libya said Tuesday that armed groups were carrying out "grave human rights abuses with impunity," and he warned the international community against breaking the arms embargo.

Martin Kobler said in Geneva that such abuses needed to be urgently addressed, and that no side in Libya must get its hands on guns.

There are 26 million guns in Libya, a country with a population of just 6 million, the U.N. official said.

"These weapons do not fall from the sky," Kobler said. "They come via the sea, they come via land."

He also spoke of the "abominable" state-run detention centers for migrants and refugees trying to reach Europe. He said "women are particularly exposed to abuses, including sexual violence," in these centers.

Libya is facing what Kobler called "political impasse."

A U.N.-brokered government has been set up in Tripoli to replace a pro-Islamist administration that had taken over the capital, but a rival administration in eastern Libya refuses to recognize the unity government's authority. Armed Islamic extremists, including those from the Islamic State group, are compounding Libya's problems.

In Paris on Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande met with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Serraj and pledged support for the administration in Tripoli.

Hollande warned that the fight against radical extremist groups in Libya was far from over, and he called on the international community to hunt down and neutralize terrorists operating in the North African country.

Libya has been in political and economic turmoil since longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi was toppled and killed in 2011.