UNHCR Libya External Update – August 2013

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 31 Aug 2013

Refugees and asylum seekers

UNHCR praises the positive collaboration with the government of Libya. The latter has formally requested the collaboration of UNHCR on a number of fronts including the registration of refugees from Syria and the delivery of relief items for persons of concern in detention. Despite these positive developments, UNHCR remains concerned about the lack of safety and security of refugees and asylum seekers in Libya. To penalize those who either enter or leave the country in an irregular manner, Libyan authorities detain refugees and asylum seekers throughout the country. In collaboration with the Department of Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM), UNHCR regularly accesses detention centres where refugees and asylum seekers are detained. On 21 August, UNHCR and MSF conducted a joint mission to Surman detention centre to assess welfare conditions and identify and assist vulnerable cases. Detainees reported physical abuse and food deprivation. During the visit, UNHCR and MSF succeeded in releasing four Somali women in vulnerable conditions. In addition, most of the detention centres in East Libya have released all persons of concern to UNHCR. Sook Al Hadeka detention centre is temporarily closed for maintenance and Ganfouda previously managed by Preventive Security is expected to be closed. To that effect, all detainees have been released. In August, UNHCR’s implementing partner, CESVI, visited a detention centre managed jointly by a katiba and DCIM in Ajdabiya. At the time of the visit 209 persons of concern to UNHCR were detained, including 72 unaccompanied minors mainly from Eritrea and 21 women. UNHCR and CESVI are planning to deliver relief items to detainees.