UNHCR Flash Update Libya (7 -14 September 2018) [EN/AR]

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 14 Sep 2018

Key figures:

192,513 Libyans currently internally displaced (IDPs)

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

55,413 registered refugees and asylumseekers in the State of Libya

20,254 persons arrived in Italy by sea in 20183

895 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 dismayed at reports of smugglers and traffickers posing as UNHCR staff in Libya and calls on authorities to take action against criminals targeting desperate refugees and migrants. Reliable reports suggest that traffickers and smugglers are impersonating UN staff, including UNHCR, at different locations in Libya. These criminals were spotted at disembarkation points and smuggling hubs, using vests and other items with logos similar to that of UNHCR.

Population Movements

As of 13 September, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) rescued/intercepted 13,517 refugees and migrants (9,243 men, 2,075 women and 1,343 children) at sea during 100 operations. Since the beginning of the year, 99 bodies were recovered in Libyan waters while 608 lives were lost at sea. The majority of individuals who disembarked in Libya comprise of Nigerians (1,771 individuals),
Sudanese (1,756 individuals) and Eritreans (1,531 individuals). During the reporting period, 54 refugees and migrants disembarked in Zawiya (45 km west of Tripoli).
The group included 45 men, four women and five children. UNHCR and its partner the International Medical Corps provided core-relief items (CRIs) 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

Following the ceasefire agreement brokered by the United Nations, UNHCR resumed its activities in detention centres in and around Tripoli. These activities include screening, registration, protection monitoring and the provision of CRIs and medical assistance. On 11 September, UNHCR, IOM and WFP visited Abu Salim detention centre, where some 426 persons (including 115 women and 19 children) are held. Following this visit, on the same day, UNHCR and its partner LibAid delivered water and CRIs. UNHCR also provided humanitarian assistance in Saba’a, Zintan and Janzour detention centres. The overall conditions in these detention centres are dire, with overcrowding and a lack of basic services, including food. UNHCR and UN agencies are providing urgent support to alleviate the suffering of refugees and migrants held in these detention centres. UNHCR calls on the Libyan authorities to provide alternatives to detention and on States to offer more safe and legal pathways, such as resettlement. UNHCR further appeals to resettlement countries to accelerate their procedures for resettling people from Libya and transit facilities.

On 7 September, UNHCR resumed its activities in its registration centre in Sarraj, Tripoli. Over the past days, UNHCR provided food, water, CRIs, cash assistance (through its partner CESVI), registration and medical assistance to more than 700 persons of concern who were caught in the clashes in Tripoli or escaped detention centres.

UNHCR continues to support internally displaced families who fled their homes as a result of recent clashes in Tripoli. During the reporting period,
UNHCR distributed CRIs (sleeping mats, sanitary kits, diapers, kitchen sets) and water to 45 displaced families in Zawiya. In Benghazi, UNHCR’s partner LibAid distributed CRIs to 641 families (4,627 individuals).