Following the evacuation of 133 refugees to Niger on 6 December, this week, 89 vulnerable individuals were transferred to the newly opened Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in Tripoli. The GDF is the first of its kind in the country and is intended to bring vulnerable refugees to a safe environment while solutions including resettlement, family reunification, or evacuation to other emergency facilities are sought for them. The facility is managed by UNHCR, partner LibAid and the Libyan Ministry of Interior, and is one of a range of measures needed to offer viable alternatives to detention. During the week, vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers were released from four detention centres (Tajoura, Triq Al Sikka, Qaser Ben Ghasher and Zintan) and will be evacuated from Libya before the end of the year.
UNHCR evacuated 81 refugees and asylum-seekers who were living in urban settings to the Emergency Transit Centre (ETC) in Romania. The refugees and asylum-seekers, who arrived in Timisoara on 7 December, will be processed at UNHCR’s facility in Romania for solutions in third countries. Since November 2017, UNHCR has evacuated 2,690 refugees and asylum-seekers from Libya, including 2,202 to Niger, 312 to Italy and 176 to the ETC in Romania.
So far in 2018, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) rescued/intercepted 14,795 refugees and migrants at sea. A total of 15,358 individuals disembarked in Libya in 2017. The top three nationalities of those disembarked this year were Sudanese (14 per cent) Nigerian (12 per cent) and Eritrean (10 per cent). Out of the total, approximately 10 per cent were children. Following the summer months, where disembarkations took place at an average of 1,900 individuals per month (May, June, July and August), as of September, the number of persons disembarked in Libya reduced to an average of 400 persons per month. Throughout the year, UNHCR and its partner International Medical Corps (IMC), maintained their presence at disembarkation points and provided life-saving assistance, non-food items (NFIs) and medical assistance to refugees and migrants disembarked in Libya.
Through its local partner LibAid, UNHCR completed the distribution of winter items and school bags to internally displaced persons and returnees in Benghazi. Assistance in the form of heaters, blankets and winter clothes was distributed to some 2,000 individuals (462 families). Since the start of UNHCR’s winterization campaign in Benghazi, 8,209 individuals (1,570 families) were provided with non-food items while 1,756 children received school bags.
UNHCR estimates that 4,900 refugees and migrants are detained in Libya of whom 3,527 are of concern to UNHCR. Throughout the year, UNHCR and partners conducted over 1,300 monitoring visits and advocated with authorities for the release of over 6,480 refugees and asylum-seekers. So far in 2018, UNHCR has registered 2,796 individuals in detention centres in and around Tripoli. UNHCR is now expanding registration activities to detention centres outside of Tripoli. UNHCR remains concerned about the situation in Sabaa detention centre, where refugees and migrants have no access to food. UNHCR is advocating for their release and for the urgent provision of food.