An estimated 1.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Displaced populations, refugees and migrants are amongst the most vulnerable.
UNHCR’s overall strategic objective in Libya is to enhance the protection environment and provide life-saving assistance to displaced populations, refugees, asylum-seekers, and their host communities.
In line with its regional engagement along the Central Mediterranean route, UNHCR’s priorities in Libya include saving lives, assisting persons in need of international protection and ensuring their access to protection and solutions such as resettlement and family reunification.
Assistance to Internally displaced persons (IDPs)
Support for IDPs is a priority. UNHCR is providing basic assistance to IDPs in Libya, such as shelter kits, non-food items and cash assistance. Cash assistance helps the most vulnerable displaced families to cover shelter and basic needs. Considering the challenges posed by the liquidity crisis in the country, UNHCR and its partners distributed non-food items to 5,240 IDPs and returnees in Libya in 2018. UNHCR is setting-up a protection monitoring system to enhance access to rights for IDPs and ensure interventions reach the most vulnerable.
UNHCR is implementing quick impact projects (QIP), which are small and rapidly implemented projects, to support IDPs, returnees and their host communities with a view to promote social cohesion. Together with the communities, UNHCR and partners identify projects, mainly targeting local infrastructures, equipment and basic services within the health, education, shelter and WASH sectors. Over 270 QIPs will be carried out in 2018.
UNHCR also supports public services, benefiting displaced persons, refugees and host communities. As an example, given that health facilities are severely affected by the conflict, in 2017, UNHCR contributed two large stocks of medical supplies to the Libyan Ministry of Health and in November 2017, delivered a contribution of medical supplies in Benghazi. In 2018, UNHCR provided water tanks to seven hospitals and clinics in Sabratha and Azzawiya to facilitate the water supply for these medical facilities, allowing for water desalination and ensuring the availability of drinking water.
Support following rescue/interception at sea
UNHCR’s interventions at disembarkation points in Libya focus on the provision of life-saving assistance and protection monitoring to identify persons in need of international protection, and vulnerable individuals, unaccompanied and separated children, elderly, persons with specific needs, women at risk and victims of trafficking are considered as vulnerable. UNHCR has access and conducts protection monitoring at disembarkation points in western Libya. In six of these disembarkation points, UNHCR upgraded reception conditions to meet the immediate basic needs of refugees and migrants being disembarked following a rescue/interception at sea. Support includes establishing health posts, constructing water and sanitation facilities, such as toilets and showers, and shaded areas to protect refugees and migrants from rain in the winter and high temperatures in the summer.
As part of efforts to enhance protection at sea in the context of mixed migration flows, UNHCR conducts regular capacity-building activities on international humanitarian law and international refugee law for authorities, including the Libyan Coast Guard. UNHCR has established a forum on protection at sea, convening Libyan officials, civil society and national and international partners, with the aim of strengthening Libya’s ability to respond to incidents at sea and to provide humanitarian assistance upon disembarkation.
Assistance and advocacy to end detention of refugees and asylum-seekers
UNHCR advocates for the release from detention of refugees and asylum-seekers, in particular unaccompanied and separated children and other vulnerable individuals, and for alternatives to detention, including care arrangements for children and family tracing. So far in 2018, UNHCR and its partners have conducted more than 390 visits to detention centres. A total of 983 refugees and asylum-seekers were released following UNHCR’s advocacy efforts.
At detention centres, UNHCR provides basic humanitarian assistance and advocates for enhanced access to screening, identification and registration of refugees and vulnerable individuals. UNHCR especially advocates for measures preventing risks of sexual and gender-based violence to be adopted.
UNHCR distributes non-food items to persons held in detention centres, where particularly poor hygiene conditions contribute to the risk of spreading of diseases. In 2018, UNHCR has distributed non-food items, including hygiene kits, to 3,480 persons held in detention centres. UNHCR also assisted with the provision of WASH facilities for eight detention centres, including washing machines, and water tanks and generators.
Urban Refugee Programme
One of UNHCR’s key objectives in Libya is to enhance the protection environment for refugees and asylum-seekers. UNHCR identifies, registers and assists persons in need of international protection through its telephone hotlines, via its two Community Development Centres (CDCs) in Tripoli and through outreach visits. UNHCR’s partners CESVI and IMC provide specialized assistance to persons with specific needs, including unaccompanied and separated children and victims of trafficking.
Refugees and asylum-seekers have limited access to Libyan health facilities. UNHCR and partners provide primary healthcare and psychosocial support to refugees and asylum-seekers in Tripoli and in detention facilities. So far in 2018, UNHCR and partners have conducted more than 11,871 medical consultations for vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers. In 2018, 2,154 individuals have received non-food items in CDCs and through outreach activities in and around Tripoli.
UNHCR has significantly scaled-up its capacity for refugee status determination, resettlement and evacuations to third countries. Since September 2017, UNHCR processed 1,792 refugees and asylum-seekers for solutions in third countries. A total of 1,342 individuals were evacuated from Libya, including 1,020 to the Emergency Transit Mechanism in Niger, 312 to Italy and 10 to the Emergency Transit Centre in Romania.
UNHCR continues to seek durable solutions, such as resettlement, family reunification and voluntary repatriation, for refugees and asylum-seekers, giving particular attention to the most vulnerable. Since September 2017, 450 vulnerable refugees were submitted for resettlement to third countries.
In September 2017, UNHCR called for 40,000 resettlement places to be made available for refugees located in 15 countries along the Central Mediterranean route. As of 9 April 2018, resettlement countries have committed a total of 3,783 places for the Libya-Niger situation. Out of these pledges, 1,100 will be used for resettlement cases in Libya while 2,683 places will be allocated for resettlement out of Niger, primarily for evacuees from Libya.