UNHCR Libya Operation External Update 18 May 2017
294,436 Libyans currently internally displaced persons (IDPs)
196,852 returned IDPs (returns registered in 2017)
1,131 sea rescue kits distributed
45,750 persons arriving in Italy since 1 January 2017 (source: data2.unhcr.org)
40,713 registered refugees and asylum-seekers in Libya
USD 75.5 million
requested for IDPs and refugees in Libya in 2017
Libya continues to be the main transit point for departure from North Africa across the Central Mediterranean route to Europe. So far, the Libyan Coast Guard rescued/intercepted a total of 3,509 people in different locations along the Libyan coast. Since 1 January 2017, Libyan local authorities have recovered the bodies of 234 persons who perished while attempting to cross the Mediterranean towards Europe. UNHCR is present at six disembarkation points in Azzwaya, Tripoli (3), Tajoura (Al Hamidiyah) and Alkhums, where it provides medical assistance and counselling to those rescued/intercepted at sea.
The overall security conditions in Libya continued to limit UNHCR’s presence in the country. In Tripoli isolated incident reports show a high risk for the civilians, but not a structured conflict. In the South, on the other hand, tensions between opposing groups and the possibility of armed conflict remains high despite Tribal elder’s mediation efforts. In the western and eastern regions, tensions remain high due to the presence of other extremist groups still active in the country.
UNHCR conducted an assessment mission to Sebha, one of the main transit points for migrants in south of Libya. UNHCR was able to assess conditions in public hospitals and observed shortage of medicines and doctors. Humanitarian actors have a limited presence on the city and are providing limited assistance, counselling for migrants and mine clearance. UNHCR will expand its presence and develop quick impact projects for IDPs, refugees and host communities as well as Community Development Centres in three locations (Sebha, Al Ghatroun and AlKufra).
UNHCR supported 500 IDP families (3469 individuals) who spontaneously returned to their place of origin west of Tripoli. Humanitarian actors were able to assess conditions on the place of return and observed a severe gap in services and infrastructure. UNHCR was able to provide core relief items to these families with the support of a national partner. There are another 1,300 families part of this community still displaced in Tripoli.
UNHCR supported over 484 individuals (9 PoCs) rescued/intercepted at sea on 10 May after disembarkation at Tripoli Naval base. With this distribution, the total number of individuals assisted in the year reached 1,131. The average number of rescue/interceptions remains around 877 per month. On 14 May, UNHCR and IOM jointly convened a Rescue at Sea (RAS) Technical working group in Tunis with relevant authorities, including Libyan Coast Guards and the Department for Combatting Illegal Migration, to discuss ongoing plans for expansion of UNHCR response in Libya and cooperation in the adoption of human rights based procedure for RAS.
UNHCR’s conducted 22 visits to seven detention centres in western Libya, providing primary health care and hygiene kits. As a result of UNHCR’s advocacy, around 292 refugees have been released in 2017 and referred for assistance.
UNHCR conducted a participatory consultation in Tripoli with refugees and asylum seekers. The group was composed of community leaders of all nationalities currently seeking refuge in the country. The participants indicated that challenges of living in Libya include general insecurity, the impact of the country’s economic situation on their livelihoods, and the inconsistent recognition of UNHCR-issued-documentation by service providers in areas such as health and education.
UNHCR is promoting emergency resettlement for the cases of refugee-survivors of violence who were recently released from captivity in Libya. The cases are in the process of being submitted to resettlement countries for consideration.
In 2017, UNHCR needs USD 75.5 million to continue assisting refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons and provide support to host communities in Libya.