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UNHCR Flash Update Libya (16 - 23 November 2018) [EN/AR]

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UNHCR calls on states to increase access to safe and legal pathways for refugees in Libya, including resettlement places. On 22 November, UNHCR evacuated 132 vulnerable asylum-seekers (from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan) from Tripoli to UNHCR’s Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) in Niamey. Since November 2017, UNHCR evacuated 2,476 individuals out of Libya (2,069 to UNHCR’s ETM in Niger, 312 to Italy and 95 to the Emergency Transit Centre in Romania). Since September 2017, UNHCR also submitted 987 individuals for resettlement to seven countries (Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland) directly from Libya. A total of 114 individuals have departed on resettlement directly from Libya to Canada, France, the Netherlands and Sweden.

On 20 November, the 79 refugees and migrants who remained on-board the commercial vessel Nivin since 10 November were forced to disembark in Libya. Five individuals were injured during the forced disembarkation and transferred to a public hospital. Refugees and migrants on-board included Ethiopian, Eritrean, South Sudanese, Sudanese, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Somali nationals. Since the onset of the impasse in Misrata port, UNHCR provided humanitarian assistance on a daily basis to alleviate the suffering of the people on-board and strongly advocated for a peaceful solution to the situation, including with refugees and migrants themselves. It is regrettable that mediation efforts undertaken did not lead to a peaceful resolution. UNHCR continues to call for alternatives to detention to be implemented in Libya and for the transfer of individuals from disembarkation points to appropriate reception facilities for assistance, screening and solutions.

Population Movements

As of 22 November, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) rescued/intercepted 14,595 refugees and migrants (10,184 men, 2,147 women and 1,408 children) during 112 sea operations. The majority of individuals who disembarked in Libya are Sudanese (1,985 individuals), Nigerian (1,839 individuals) and Eritrean (1,542 individuals). Since the beginning of the year, the highest number of individuals disembarked in Tripoli (9,295 individuals), Alkhums (2,784 individuals), Zawia (1,464 individuals), Zwara (675 individuals), Tajoura (129 individuals) and Sabratha (128 individuals). UNHCR and its partner International Medical Corps continue to provide core-relief items and medical assistance both at the disembarkation points and in the detention centres to which individuals are subsequently transferred by the authorities.

UNHCR Response

UNHCR estimates that 4,851 refugees and migrants are detained in Libya, out of whom 3,527 are of concern to UNHCR. Over the past month, UNHCR has registered 2,741 individuals in detention centres in Libya and continues to provide medical and humanitarian assistance on a daily basis.

With the winter season approaching, UNHCR has started its winterization campaign to assist internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees across Libya. So far, UNHCR has distributed plastic sheets, blankets, heaters, winter clothes, gloves and children’s shoes to some 3,000 IDPs in Misrata (210 km east of Tripoli), Sabha (640 km south of Tripoli) and Benghazi.