Libya + 17 more

UNHCR Flash Update Libya (17 - 24 August 2018) [EN/AR]

Situation Report
Originally published


Key figures:

192,513 Libyans currently internally displaced (IDPs)

372,741 returned IDPs (returns registered in 2016 - April 2018)

54,937 registered refugees and asylumseekers in the State of Libya

19,303 persons arrived in Italy by sea in 2018

871 monitoring visits to detention centres so far in 2018

1,527 asylum-seekers and refugees released from detention so far in 2018

1,858 vulnerable refugees and asylumseekers evacuated since November 2017

USD 85 M required for 2018


UNHCR is gravely concerned about the worsening conditions for refugees and asylum-seekers detained in Libya. The situation is being compounded further by the limited prospects for solutions to their situation. In recent weeks, UNHCR has witnessed a critical worsening in conditions in detention centres, due to the increasing overcrowding and lack of basic living standards. As a consequence, riots and hunger strikes by refugees inside detention centres are taking place, demanding a resolution to their bleak living conditions.

This has led to a number of serious security incidents, where UNHCR front line staff have been placed at physical risk. UNHCR estimates that more than 8,000 refugees and migrants are detained in the country. More than 4,500 are considered to be of concern to UNHCR. UNHCR understands the increasing frustration of refugees and asylum-seekers who have been detained in Libya for months and calls on states to offer more safe and legal pathways, such as resettlement, and appeal to resettlement countries to accelerate their procedures for resettling people from Libya and transit facilities. UNHCR, as a matter of principle, opposes detention of refugees and asylum-seekers.

UNHCR’s role necessitates that its staff have access to and are present in detention centres for monitoring conditions. We provide life-saving assistance, identify those in need of international protection and advocate for their release from detention, trying to find a durable solution. The assistance UNHCR and other humanitarian actors provide in detention facilities is intended to alleviate the suffering of detainees. So far in 2018, UNHCR visited detention centres 871 times. The conditions in Libya’s detention centres remain extremely dire, and UNHCR’s assistance alone will not address this reality. UNHCR looks forward to the opening of the Gathering and Departure Facility in Tripoli, jointly managed by UNHCR and the Ministry of Interior, which will speed up the process of securing solutions in third countries and provide a critical alternative to detention.

Population Movements

As of 24 August, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) rescued/intercepted 12,935 refugees and migrants (8,881 men, 1,981 women and 1,217 children) at sea during 94 operations. The main nationalities of individuals disembarked in Libya are Sudanese (1,714 individuals), Nigerian (1,700 individuals), and Eritrean (1,410 individuals). Since the beginning of the year, 97 bodies were recovered in Libyan waters while 583 lives were lost at sea. During the reporting period, a total of 188 individuals disembarked at the Tripoli Naval Base and Al Khums. The group included 157 men, 17 women and 14 children. UNHCR and its partner the International Medical Corps (IMC) provided core-relief items and vital medical assistance both at the disembarkation points and in the detention centres to which individuals were subsequently transferred by the authorities.

UNHCR Response

Since 1 September 2017, 797 individuals were submitted for resettlement to eight States (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland). A total of 70 individuals departed on resettlement directly from Libya to Canada, France, Sweden and the Netherlands. A total of 11 individuals were accepted for resettlement and are pending departure directly from Libya to Sweden. A total of 746 individuals were submitted for resettlement and are pending interview or decision by a resettlement State in Libya. An additional 1,136 individuals were submitted for resettlement to 10 resettlement States out of the Emergency Transit Mechanism in Niger.

As of 13 August 2018, 12 States have committed a total of 3,886 resettlement places for the Libya-Niger situation. The 12 States are: Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Out of these pledges, 1,090 will be used for resettlement processing directly out of Libya.