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Libyan NGO pledges to support UNHCR in North Africa

News Stories, 26 February 2007

© UNHCR/S.Hopper
High Commissioner António Guterres greets Khaled El Hamedi, head of UNHCR's implementing partner in Libya.

GENEVA, February 26 (UNHCR) The chairman of Libya's International Organisation for Peace, Care and Relief (IOPCR) pledged on Monday in Geneva to support UNHCR's work on behalf of refugees caught in mixed migratory movements in North Africa.

"We have a partnership agreement with UNHCR to support their work in North Africa," Khaled K. El Hamedi, said after a meeting with High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres and other senior UNHCR officials. "Our goal is to promote peace and help people, as much as we can," added the head of IOPCR, a Tripoli-based non-governmental organisation (NGO).

During a visit to UNHCR's Geneva headquarters, El Hamedi said his organisation was ready to help the refugee agency find solutions to the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in Libya.

"We wish that efforts will be intensified from more NGOs, UN agencies and the authorities in the concerned countries to put [in place] a regional strategy that would hopefully address the serious impact of [irregular] migration across the Mediterranean," El Hamedi said.

Last year, UNHCR unveiled a 10-point action plan to help governments address the challenges posed by irregular migration, while safeguarding the rights of refugees and migrants.

UNHCR's plan sets out key areas in which action is required to address the issues of mixed and irregular migratory movements in a coherent and practical way in countries of origin, transit and destination.

While recognising that border controls are essential for combatting international crime, including smuggling and trafficking, and to avert security threats, the plan stresses the need for practical protection safeguards to ensure that such measures are not applied in an indiscriminate or disproportionate manner and do not lead to refugees being returned to countries where their lives or liberty would be at risk.

The UNHCR plan also identifies the need for training and clear instructions for border guards and immigration officials so that they know how to respond to asylum applications and how to meet the needs of separated children, victims of trafficking and other groups with special needs. It also calls for appropriate reception arrangements to be set up to ensure that the basic human needs of people involved in mixed movements are met.

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Angelina Jolie meets boat people in Malta, Lampedusa

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Angelina Jolie meets boat people in Malta, Lampedusa

Displacement Challenges for Libya

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Displacement Challenges for Libya

Crisis in Libya

UNHCR is working with the Tunisian and Egyptian authorities and aid groups to manage the dramatic influx of tens of thousands of people fleeing Libya. By the beginning of March, two weeks after the violence erupted in Libya, more than 140,000 people had fled to the neighbouring countries, while thousands more were waiting to cross. Most are Egyptian and Tunisian nationals, though small numbers of Libyans and other nationalities are managing to escape. UNHCR is particularly concerned about thousands of refugees and other foreigners trapped inside Libya, especially people from sub-Saharan Africa. The following photo essay gives a glimpse into what is happening at the borders.

Crisis in Libya

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Lebanon: Rush to Arsal

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UNHCR Syrians KhomsPlay video

UNHCR Syrians Khoms

The end of a long, silent journey: Two Eritreans in Libya Play video

The end of a long, silent journey: Two Eritreans in Libya

Two Eritreans set out on a perilous journey to Europe, crossing Sudan and the Sahara arriving in Libya during its 2011 revolution. They arrive in Tripoli having avoided the risks of detention and despite contending with a crippling handicap: both David and his wife Amitu are deaf and mute.