Libya + 3 more

UNHCR moves detained refugees out of harm’s way in volatile Libyan capital

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in a joint effort with IOM, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), UNOCHA and the Libyan Department for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM), organised on Tuesday an urgent evacuation of some 300 refugees and migrants held in Ain Zara detention centre in Tripoli. Tensions have been on the rise in the capital in recent days and armed groups are fighting in the immediate vicinity of the centre. Hundreds of refugees and migrants detained in Ain Zara were in clear danger of getting caught in the hostilities.

Those evacuated were mainly Eritrean, Ethiopian and Somali nationals. All have been moved to the Abu Salim detention centre, which is in a relatively safer location where international organisations can provide aid to them.

UNHCR is distributing basic aid items, including blankets, while IOM is providing mattresses, food and water. MSF is providing water, food and first medical consultations.

UNHCR, as a matter of principle, opposes detention of refugees and asylum-seekers in need of international protection, but we are present wherever refugees are, in order to provide them with life-saving assistance and to advocate for their release from detention.

UNHCR and its partner LibAid also visited a school in Tripoli where over 35 displaced Libyan families have sought shelter from the hostilities in Ain Zara, Salah al-Din and Khallat al-Farrjan Sala areas (south of Tripoli). These families are traumatized and in urgent need of food, drinking water and basic aid. UNHCR is working in coordination with the authorities and relevant partners to help these families.

UNHCR continues to monitor the developments closely and is standing ready to respond to any new and immediate humanitarian needs.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

In Geneva, William Spindler,, +41 22 739 8956
In Tunis, Paula Barrachina Esteban,, +218 91 001 7553