Libya + 1 more

UNICEF Libya Flash Update 1 : Migrant raids and detention, 4 October 2021

Situation Report
Originally published


At least 5,152 people affected

At least 215 children 751 women, including 30 pregnant women

Humanitarian Situation Overview

On 01 October 2021, a widespread security operation was conducted by Libyan authorities in the Tripoli area of Gargaresh. Raids were carried out on houses and temporary shelters used by migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers. Reports indicate that one young migrant was killed, with at least 15 others injured.

The raids have led to mass detention, with officials from the Directorate of Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM) reporting over 4,000 people, including women and children, arrested during the operation and brought to detention centers. Two days after the raids, the Libyan Coastguard intercepted a boat carrying about 500 Europe-bound migrants and refugees, further adding on the number of affected people. The International Organization of Migration (IOM) reports that at least 5,152 detained as of 03 October 2021, including 215 children and 751 women, of whom 30 are pregnant. This number is expected to increase as security operations are still ongoing.

Migrants and refugees in Libya, especially children, are highly vulnerable to protection risks, including arbitrary detention and human rights violations. Inside detention centres run by the Ministry of Interior’s DCIM, children often share overcrowded cells with adults exposing them to protection risks, such as violence, ill-treatment, forced labour, acute malnutrition, disease infection, and the lack of access to basic essential services.

More than 1,000 migrant and refugee children in Libya out of the estimated 597,611 migrants as of June 20211 are unaccompanied. Figures further show that 25,285 migrants attempted to cross the Mediterranean Seebetween January and September 2021, surpassing the total number of migrants intercepted in entire 2020. Since the beginning of the year, 917 children (283 girls, 634 boys) were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya, where most of them were subject to arbitrary detention.

UNICEF Planned Emergency Response

In line with the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action (CCCs), UNICEF’s response to the ongoing situation is dedicated to the provision of immediate life-saving protection, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), health and nutrition support for the affected population, with a focus on children and women.
UNICEF’s emergency child protection response will focus on protection screening to assess and provide needed services.
Family tracing and reunification will also be facilitated, in close coordination with IOM and UNHCR. UNICEF will respond to the emergency WASH needs of the affected population through the provision of water bladders, safe drinking water, and essential hygiene items. Rapid technical assessments of the WASH facilities are also ongoing to ensure the basic needs of children are met. Nutrition screening will be conducted for children and women. High energy biscuits will be provided for children, and pregnant and lactating women will receive support for their specific nutrition needs. UNICEF will also screen the vaccination status for affected children to mitigate the risk of outbreaks.
UNICEF, as part of the Humanitarian Country Team, is supporting the emergency response coordination, and leads the WASH sector and the child protection sub-sector.