In view of the current critical humanitarian situation in Libya and the appalling, often lifethreatening conditions faced by asylum seekers and refugees in the detention centres, UNHCR intends to evacuate between 700 and 1,300 persons of concern from Libya to Niger by the end of January 2018. The total number will be subject to identification and referrals, including by our partners, in particular by IOM. In order to address the immediate protection needs and extreme vulnerabilities of the persons of concern who will be evacuated to Niger, UNHCR urgently requests 1,300 places for resettlement for this situation.
Many refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons in Libya are victims of serious violations of human rights including different forms of inhumane, cruel and degrading treatment. A large number of them are arbitrarily detained for an indefinite period of time, in appalling and deplorable conditions, without any option of judicial review or access to effective legal remedies.
As the refugee protection agency, UNHCR is strongly opposed to the routine detention of refugees and displaced persons. UNHCR will continue to be engaged in the provision of life-saving assistance in the detention centres, advocacy for release from and alternatives to detention, as well as access to safety and solutions for refugees as part of a comprehensive migration management response.
Given the urgency of humanitarian needs and rapidly deteriorating conditions in detention centres, UNHCR has started life-saving evacuations of targeted groups of extremely vulnerable persons of concern. In the weeks and months to come, UNHCR will evacuate to Niger unaccompanied children, single female parents and women at risk, persons with serious medical conditions and others, including single men, who have been exposed to severe torture and mistreatment during their journey as well as in detention in Libya. The government of Niger has agreed to temporarily host persons of concern to UNHCR evacuated from Libya pending their further processing and departure for resettlement.
UNHCR would like to recall the humanitarian response provided by the international community during the Libyan crisis in 2011, when more than 15 resettlement countries accepted vulnerable refugees who had fled from Libya to the Shousha and Saloum transit camps in Tunisia and Egypt. Many of those persons had spent significant time in detention under similarly harsh conditions and found safety in transit countries before finding a solution through the swift and flexible resettlement responses of states.
This is an initial Resettlement Flash Appeal. UNHCR will continue identifying vulnerable persons of concern with strong protection needs in Libya and seek support from the international community for life-saving evacuations and solutions through resettlement. This Flash Appeal is made in the context of the overall request of 40,000 places for resettlement from the countries along the Central Mediterranean route.