Libya + 1 more

IOM Libya: Monthly Update - March 2021



Federico SODA

A joint report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Affairs, launched in March, showed that over 250,000 people were displaced in the country as a result of the conflict and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the past two years alone. The protracted crisis has impacted the well-being of IDPs both mentally and physically, increasing their level of vulnerability and their protection needs, especially for those living in informal settlements. According to the report, among the top priority needs were shelter, food assistance and health assistance.

IOM supports new IDPs and returnees with emergency life-saving assistance and essential services in order to meet their basic needs, but also works to strengthen the capacities of local authorities to provide adequate standards of living and access to basic services to returnees and improve access to sustainable livelihoods and employment.

Since 5 March, a number of raids have been carried out on alleged smuggling and trafficking warehouses in Kufra and Bani Waleed, where torture for ransom and other human rights abuses have long been reported. Migrants and their families reportedly pay thousands of dollars in the hope of being released. Many have witnessed others dying in these camps from malnutrition, torture and gunshot wounds. More than 415 migrants were transferred to detention centres. While investigations are being carried out by authorities, IOM and other humanitarian actors are providing life- saving emergency assistance to victims in need of primary medical care, protection assistance, non-food items and the possibility to take part in the Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme.

The situation in detention centres remains of extreme concern. There are currently over 4,000 men, women and children detained in dire conditions in these facilities. Several new detention centres have opened during the past months, while overcrowding and lack of basic services continue to be a recurring and alarming issue.

In March alone, 1,948 people have been intercepted or rescued and returned to Libya after trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The increase in recorded departures may be due to several factors, including the improvement of weather conditions, the activity of smugglers or the difficulty to access livelihood opportunities in Libya due to COVID-19.