UNHCR Update Libya (10 January 2020)

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 10 Jan 2020


  • On 6 January, UNHCR secured the release of three Eritrean unaccompanied minors out of detention and coordinated their departrure from Libya to Switzerland, where they were reunited with their families.

  • UNHCR thanks the Swiss government for its cooperation throughout the process. Since January 2019, a total of 2,427 individuals have departed out of Libya including 1,534 who were evacuated and 893 resettled to third countries.

  • UNHCR reiterates its call to the international community to provide more resettlement slots and humanitarian corridors to evacuate vulnerable refugees and asylumseekers out of Libya.

Population movements

As of 8 January, 9,035 refugees and migrants have been rescued/intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard and disembarked in Libya during 107 sea operations. The population includes 83 per cent men, 7 per cent women and 10 per cent children. Thus far, most disembarkation operations were conducted at Al Khums Port (40 per cent), the Tripoli Naval Base (30 per cent) and the Tripoli Commercial Port (14 per cent) – three of the 18 disembarkation points in Libya.

Over the past few months, the number of arrivals to Libya has gradually decreased due to the winter season. By comparison, in 2018, 15,235 people were rescued/intercepted at sea. UNHCR and its partner, the International Medical Corps (IMC) continue to provide medical assistance and core-relief items (CRIs) to persons at disembarkation points. On 9 January, unconfirmed reports came of two rescue/interception at sea operations, with reportedly over 200 people having been disembarked at Tripoli and Al Khums. UNHCR partner, IMC, is following up.

UNHCR response

On 2 January, UNHCR through its partner IMC provided 27 primary healthcare consultations and three medical referrals at the Community Day Centre (CDC) in Tripoli. In 2019, UNHCR and its partner provided more than 10,000 medical consultations at the CDC. Additionally, a total of 857 refugees and asylum-seekers living in the urban community received cash assistance to help them meet their basic needs.

So far in January 2020, UNHCR has registered a total of 57 individuals. The majority of those registered are Sudanese, followed by Syrians, Eritreans, Palestinians and south Sudanese. There are currently 46,395 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR in Libya.

Last week, UNHCR through its partner, LibAid, distributed winter items to 1,725 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yefren, Nafusa Mountains (142 km southwest of Tripoli). The assistance included plastic sheeting, raincoats, quilts, socks, gloves, solar lamps, blankets, jerry cans and kitchen sets. Last year, UNHCR distributed CRIs to more than 22,000 IDPs and returnees in Libya.