UNHCR Update Libya (1 November 2019 )
As of 1 November, over 8,155 refugees and migrants were rescued/intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard and disembarked in Libya. In October, 1,113 refugees and migrants disembarked in Tripoli (703 individuals), Al Khums (183 individuals), Tajoura (179 individuals), and Zwara (48 individuals). The latest rescue/interception operation was conducted on 30 October, when 191 individuals were disembarked in Tripoli. UNHCR and its partner, the International Medical Corps provided medical assistance and corerelief items to persons at disembarkation points before they were transferred to detention centres. Recently, boats have been departing from areas west of Tripoli near Zwara and east of Tripoli near Garabulli.
There are over 1,200 individuals hosted at the Gathering and Departure Facility. Yesterday, over 400 people from Abu Salim detention centre and urban areas spontaneously entered the GDF. Despite the informal nature of the entry to the GDF, no force or violence was reported by neither guards securing premises nor persons that entered the facility. The group had gathered on 29 October outside the GDF requesting access to the facility for improved services and solutions such as resettlement or evacuation. Over the past days, UNHCR counselled those outside the GDF that humanitarian assistance (primary healthcare, psychosocial support, food and cash) would be provided at the Community Day Centre. A few of them expressed their interest in the urban assistance package offered to them by UNHCR. Plans are now ongoing for the immediate distribution of food and water for all individuals accommodated at the GDF, with the goal of securing wellbeing and ensuring calm. Discussions are also taking place with authorities, NGOs and UN Agencies to coordinate the response at the facility as the GDF is de facto an “open centre”. An inter-agency needs assessment mission will take place tomorrow at the GDF. UNHCR opposes the detention of refugees and migrants in Libya and advocates for release of all those in detention.
This week, UNHCR, in coordination with IOM, supported the departure under resettlement programme of 292 refugees to a third country. Resettlement involves the transfer of refugees from an asylum country to another State that has agreed to admit them and ultimately grants them permanent settlement. So far in 2019, 2,053 refugees and asylum-seekers departed for solutions out of Libya, including 761 individuals under resettlement and another 1,293 individuals under evacuation programme. Over 5,100 refugees and asylum-seekers departed from Libya since 2017.
UNHCR conducted participatory needs assessments targeting internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Libya. Over the past weeks, UNHCR conducted sites specific focus group discussions (FGDs) with IDPs living in Tripoli, Azzawya (45 km west of Tripoli) and Misrata (180 km east of Tripoli).
Discussions highlighted necessities related to shelter or linked with safety and security within urban areas. UNHCR was also investigating various modalities to deliver humanitarian assistance to IDPs and returnees in Libya. The results of the FGDs will be used to formulate activities next year.