UNHCR Update Libya (8 March 2019)

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 08 Mar 2019

Key figures:

170,490 Libyans currently internally displaced (IDPs)

445,845 returned IDPs (returns registered in 2016 - 2018)

56,979 registered refugees and asylumseekers in the State of Libya

262 overall persons arrived in Italy

233 monitoring visits to detention centres so far in 2019

527 asylum-seekers and refugees released from detention so far in 2019

3,303 vulnerable refugees and asylumseekers evacuated since November 2017

Funding USD 88.1 M required for 2019

Highlights

UNHCR continues to advocate for an end to detention in Libya. On 5 March, UNHCR issued a statement troubled by reports that force had been used last week against protesting asylum-seekers in Triq al Sikka detention centre in Tripoli. The protests had been driven by frustration and anxiety among asylumseekers who have been detained in extremely dire conditions for months with no prospects of solutions. Around 50 people were reportedly injured when the authorities sought to suppress the protest. Two individuals were badly injured and transferred to Abu Slim hospital. UNHCR is also aware that following last week’s protests, some 120 people were transferred from Triq al Sikka detention centre to Ain Zara and Sabha detention centres. UNHCR has raised concern with the authorities about this incident and requested access to those affected.

On 4 March, UNHCR participated in a high-level inter-agency mission to Sabha, 775 km south of Tripoli. This was the third UN mission to the city so far this year and was led by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Maria Ribeiro. Together with the delegation, UNHCR visited Sabha’s municipal council and met with local authorities to discuss essential needs in the health and education sectors and migration movements in the area. During the previous week, UNHCR had visited Sabha and met with the authorites to enhance cooperation and the provision of assistance and protection for UNHCR persons of concern.

UNHCR Response

On 4 March, UNHCR evacuated 128 refugees and asylum-seekers from the Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in Tripoli to UNHCR’s Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) in Niamey. The group included 86 men, 38 women and four children that were transferred from seven detention centres (Abu Salim, Ain Zara, Al Sabaa, Suq Al Khamis, Qaser Ben Ghasheer, Tajoura and Triq Al Sikka) to the GDF before departing to Niger. This is the third evacuation to take place in 2019, bringing the total number of evacuees from Libya to 3,303 individuals (2,619 to the ETM in Niger, 415 to Italy and 269 to Romania). Currently, UNHCR is processing and hosting asylum-seekers at the GDF for the next round of evacuations from Libya.

UNHCR continues to implement quick-impact projects (QIPs) to support host communities and returnee families in Libya. This week, UNHCR delivered 465 school desks to support schools in the Wershfana area, particularly in Al Zahra and Al Maamura municipalities. The schools are frequented by approximately 930 children with the large majority of students coming from returnee families. Since 2018, UNHCR implemented 174 QIPs throughout Libya.

UNHCR continues to assist returnee families with shelter kits throughout Libya. These kits support the repair of shelters and infrastructure severely damaged during the conflict. Since December 2018, UNHCR and its partner LibAid distributed over 1,748 shelter kits to displaced and returnee families in Benghazi (544 kits), Al Awinyah (700 kits) the Nafusa Mountains and Tawergha (540 kits) in the central region.