UNHCR Update Libya (30 August 2019) [EN/AR]
UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner, Kelly T. Clements, concluded her two day visit to Libya on Tuesday, committing to continued UNHCR engagement to support displaced people and other affected communities. Clements assessed the growing humanitarian needs facing the population in the country. In Tripoli, she visited the Gathering and Departure Facility and spoke to refugees from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia, who expressed their frustration about the dire conditions in detention and limited solutions in safe third countries.
During discussions with the Minister of Interior, Mr. Fathi Bashagha, UNHCR renewed its commitment to work together towards ending arbitrary detention in Libya, where over 4,800 refugees and migrants are detained. Clements also conveyed its readiness to support refugees in the urban community once released from detention and to continue to advocate for solutions outside Libya. So far in 2019, 1,345 refugees left Libya under the evacuation and resettlement programme.
During meetings with partners, Clements discussed the importance of working together to support displaced persons in Libya.
This week, at least 40 people are estimated to have drowned off the coast of Libya. Some 60 survivors were rescued and brought to shore in the coastal town of Al-Khoms, around 100 kilometres east of Tripoli. The rescue operation was carried out by the Libyan Coast Guard and local fisherman. UNHCR through its partner International Medical Corps (IMC) provided the survivors with medical and humanitarian assistance. This latest incident follows just weeks after a shipwreck where some 150 lives are estimated to have been lost in the worst single incident on the Mediterranean this year. As of 27 August, 5,858 refugees and migrants were rescued/intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard during 75 sea operations. So far in August, 1,316 individuals were disembarked in Libya.
This is a 54% increase compared to July (856 individuals).
UNHCR continues to support refugees and asylum-seekers through its Community Day Centre (CDC) in Tripoli. As of 28 August, UNHCR and its partner IMC provided more than 200 primary healthcare consultations and 33 medical referrals. So far in 2019, 6,613 medical consultations and 984 medical referrals were provided at the CDC.
There are currently 51,118 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR in Libya. The majority of those registered are Syrian (19,721 individuals), Sudanese (11,242 individuals) and Eritrean (6,704 individuals). Last week alone, UNHCR registered 220 individuals at its Registration Office and the CDC.
So far in 2019, more than 1,000 refugees and asylum-seekers were evacuated from Libya to Niger (710 individuals) and Italy (295 individuals).
Since November 2017, UNHCR evacuated 4,450 refugees and asylum-seekers out of Libya (2,912 to Niger, 710 to Italy, 456 to Romania and 371 to other countries).
UNHCR reiterates its call on the international community to provide more resettlement slots and humanitarian corridors to evacuate more vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers to safe countries.