UNHCR Flash Update Libya (25 September - 6 October 2017)

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 06 Oct 2017

Key figures

  • 217,022 Libyans currently internally displaced persons (IDPs)

  • 278,559 returned IDPs (returns registered in 2017)

  • 43,133 registered refugees and asylum-seekers in Libya

106,459 persons arrived in Italy by sea so far in 2017

Population Movements

As of 30 September, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) rescued/intercepted at sea a total of 12,372 refugees and migrants. This represents, an increase of 9.7% when compared to the same period in 2016. The number of rescues/interceptions marginally increased in September (1,780 individuals up from 1,741 individuals in August). Although 70% of individuals rescued/intercepted were men, UNHCR continued to observe an increase in the number of women (17%) and children (13%) from previous months. In September, West African nationals remained amongst the top nationalities, followed by Syrians, Eritreans, Sudanese, Ethiopians and a few Palestinians. The latest rescue/interception operation was conducted by the LCG on 30 September, where 205 people from Morocco, Cameroon, Senegal and Sudan were disembarked in Azzawya (50 km west of Tripoli).

As of 30 September 2017, a total of 43,133 refugees and asylum-seekers were registered with UNHCR in Libya, 299 of whom were registered in September. Men represent 42% of the registered population, while women and children represent 28% and 30% respectively. Syrians account for the highest number of registered refugees and asylum-seekers (50%), followed by Palestinians, Eritreans, Sudanese and Iraqis. UNHCR provides a certificate that enables those registered to have access to public services, including education and healthcare. UNHCR’s certificate is formally recognised by authorities and reduces the risk of arbitrary detention and refoulement.

UNHCR Response

Out of an approximate population of 1.7 million in eastern Libya, 20% (350,000 persons) are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance. The region of Benghazi hosts 42,3001 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 146,5001 returnees, which represent 53% of the total number of returnees in Libya. In areas north of Benghazi (downtown Benghazi, Al-Sabri, and Sooq al-Hoot), IDPs have limited access to basic services and utilities, and remain at risk in areas of return due to the presence of mines and explosive remnants of war. To respond to the ongoing needs of IDPs and returnees, UNHCR supports a range of interventions. Since 27 August, UNHCR and LibAid have distributed core relied item (CRI) kits to 13,901 IDPs and returnees living in areas north of Benghazi. Through its partner ACTED, UNHCR supports 3,000 IDPs and returnees with cash-based interventions in the eastern region. In addition, UNHCR plans to implement a total of 125 quick impact projects (QIPs) country-wide to benefit IDPs and host communities by the end of 2018, which will raise the resilience capacity in targeted areas, while meeting urgent community needs. They will include projects on water, sanitation and education.

On 3 October, nine refugees departed from Tripoli to a third country under UNHCR’s resettlement programme. With this departure, facilitated by the International Medical Corps (IMC) and International Organization for Migration (IOM), a total of 44 refugees have been resettled from Libya so far in 2017. Another 24 refugees departed under private sponsorship schemes. UNHCR is working to identify solutions in third countries for vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers, including resettlement and other complementary legal pathways.

On 6 October, the UNHCR Representative to Libya briefed the donor community on UNHCR’s programmes in Libya and operational plans for 2018. In 2017, the following achievements can be highlighted: 2,080 IDP and refugee households received cash assistance; 3,133 rescue kits and 2,419 medical consultations were provided to refugees and migrants at disembarkation points; 769 detained refugees and asylum seekers were released from detention, and 38,303 IDPs and refugees received core relief items.