Libya + 5 more

Humanitarian Implementation Plan (HIP) North Africa (ECHO/WWD/BUD/2015/01000) Last update: 20/10/2014

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The activities proposed hereafter are still subject to the adoption of the financing decision ECHO/WWD/BUD/2015/01000

AMOUNT: EUR 10 000 000

1. CONTEXT

This Humanitarian Implementation Plan (HIP) focuses mostly on the Sahrawi crisis. ECHO's Integrated Analysis Framework for 2014-15 identified extreme humanitarian needs in the Sahrawi refugee camps. The vulnerability of the population affected by the crisis is assessed to be very high. The Sahrawi crisis scored 0, the most severe level, in the Forgotten Crisis Assessment index of the European Union's Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) in 2014.

Soon after the International Court of Justice declared that the people of Western Sahara had the right to self-determination in October 1975, Spain agreed to hand over the territory to Morocco and Mauritania. On 26 February 1976, Spain ended up its pulling out. The following day, the Polisario Front, founded in 1973 by the opponents to the Spanish occupation, proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). A war broke out between the Polisario Front, Morocco and Mauritania, who pulled out in 1979. Hostilities between Morocco and the Polisario Front eventually ended up in 1991, when a ceasefire brokered and monitored by the United Nations (UN) was implemented. In April 1991, UN Security Council Resolution 690 established the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) with the mandate to organise a referendum that should enable the people of Western Sahara to choose between independence and integration with Morocco. In spite of four rounds of official talks in 2007 and 2008, nine rounds of informal talks between 2009 and 2012, and “shuttle diplomacy” since November 2012, neither parties have reached yet an agreement.

Gathered in 5 main camps (Ausserd, Boujdour, Dakhla, Laayoune, and Smara) spread in the desert, refugees are largely dependent on external humanitarian assistance with little prospect for self-reliance, because income generating activities are scarce and difficult to implement in the desert, or for return, as the peace process has been stalled for years.

At the same time the North Africa region is facing serious political and security issues with potential humanitarian fall outs. In Libya, as a result of the government weakness, security has become a major issue and humanitarian access has been hampered since the intensification of clashes in July 2014. Since Qaddafi‘s fall, no central government has been able to impose itself.
Libya’s three distinctive regions (Tripolitana in the west, Cyrenaica in the east and Fezzan in the South) are under the control of militias and factions as well as of many splinter cells and other terrorist groups that found refuge in the country.

The intensified conflict has considerably impacted the lives of civilians, causing shortages of medical supplies, displacement, destruction of homes and infrastructure, disruption of basic services and communications and difficulties on obtaining food and fuel supplies. Current armed clashes directly affect the lives of refugees and asylum seekers in Tripoli and Benghazi, as many stay in areas heavily affected by fighting, and are unable to leave.

In addition, Libya is facing a major challenge in addressing mixed migration, now considered as a national security matter. The deteriorating security conditions in Libya negatively affect refugees and asylum seekers, putting them at risk of great harm. They continue to be detained on account of irregular entry to the country and thus forcing them to seek recourse elsewhere, often such as the perilous journey by sea to Europe. Many of them are in extremely vulnerable conditions having suffered either trauma or torture in their country of origin or during the journey to Libya.

The Libya Humanitarian Appeal launched by the UN on 19 September 2014 sets out the groundwork for a humanitarian response until the end of 2014 on USD 35.25 million, mainly focusing on food aid, health assistance and protection. Should the conflict continue, such needs will remain, and could become even more acute. The need for protection of sub-Saharan migrants, particularly those in detention centres and those making irregular crossings to Europe, as well as of other people of concern should equally be considered. A number of agencies have also started to provide structured psychosocial assistance to IDPs as well as recreational activities for children. Such activities should be continued.

In the 4th year of its transition towards democracy, Tunisia still faces significant political, security and economic challenges. The adoption of a new Constitution in January 2014 has opened a new phase. However, risks entailed by regional instability and a still precarious domestic environment translate into a fragile growth and still high unemployment rates, particularly among the youth. In this context, and also as a consequence of the destabilization of the Maghreb region in 2011, migration has become a central issue in the country. While Tunisia is, along with its Algerian neighbour, affected by sub-Saharan migration, instability in Libya is also of great concern to the Tunisian authorities: indeed, the 490 km long border with its eastern neighbour makes the country vulnerable to a possible destabilisation. As in 2011, it is likely that Tunisia will bear the brunt of a continued chaos in Libya.

Other countries in the region could be affected as well if the conflict continues in Libya: Algeria,
Egypt or Morocco could equally face an increased influx of refugees, migrants seeking their way to Europe or third country nationals escaping the war

The situation in Libya is extremely volatile and its evolution largely unpredictable, thus making it difficult to anticipate the full humanitarian needs in Libya and neighbouring countries possibly affected. In view of this, sections 2 and 3 only refer to the humanitarian needs and response to the Sahrawi crisis.