Libya + 5 more

UNHCR Update Libya (21 February 2020)

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Population movement

As of 21 February, 1,737 refugees and migrants have been registered as rescued/intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard and disembarked in Libya. On 18 February, there was a marked increase in rescues/interceptions at sea, with three operations recorded that day, totalling some 535 individuals. While most were transferred to detention centres by the Libyan authorities in Tripoli, 90 people were released at Al-Khums port. So far this year, some 268 persons of concern to UNHCR have disembarked at various Libyan disembarkation points. The vast majority (some 200) are from Sudan, but others are from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Palestine. Both UNHCR and its partner, the International Medical Corps (IMC), continue to be present and provide medical assistance and core relief items (CRIs) at disembarkation points.

UNHCR response

UNHCR continues to provide emergency relief assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers in Libya. Last week, UNHCR through its partner, IMC, distributed CRIs to more than 250 refugees and asylum-seekers living in the urban community in Tripoli. Assistance included blankets, plastic sheets and solar lamps. UNHCR also distributed CRIs at three detention centres (Zwara, Triq Al Sikka and Sabaa). A total of 626 individuals received hygiene kits, baby kits, winter jackets and mattresses.

As of 21 February, UNHCR registered more than 2,000 individuals both living in the urban community and who are being held at detention centres in Libya. Registration and verification procedures are a vital tool for refugees and asylumseekers. It facilitates access to basic assistance and protection. The process of registration enables the early identification of individuals with specific needs within a population and their referral to an available protection response.

UNHCR conducted some 118 protection monitoring visits to detention centres in Libya. The main role of these visits are to assess conditions and provide life-saving assistance for persons of concern who are being held in detention. Through the visits, UNHCR is also able to advocate for release and prioritize vulnerable cases for evacuations. So far in 2020, a total of 202 refugees and asylum-seekers were released from detention following UNHCR’s advocacy.

UNHCR’s Community Day Centre (CDC) in Tripoli continues to provide services for refugees and asylum-seekers living in the urban community. UNHCR and its partners, IMC and CESVI, provide medical assistance, cash grants and protection services. As of 21 February, more than 1,300 primary healthcare consultations and 79 medical referrals were provided at the CDC. Additionally, some 769 urban refugees and asylum-seekers received cash grants.

UNHCR has so far transferred 126 refugees out of Libya under its resettlement programme. Resettlement provides refugees with legal and physical protection, including access to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights similar to those enjoyed by nationals. UNHCR continues to call on the international community to provide more resettlement places as well as humanitarian corridors to allow us to transfer vulnerable refugees in Libya out of harm’s way.