2013 UNHCR country operations profile - Libya
Having recently emerged from a historic revolution inspired by the Arab Spring, Libya is going through a delicate post-conflict transitional period that offers both opportunities and challenges. The country's first national elections were held successfully in July 2012, following which the National Transitional Council handed power to the democratically elected National Congress.
Nevertheless, confrontations between armed militias, the growth of instability in the east of the country and the escalation of inter-ethnic and tribal conflicts pose significant challenges for the new Government. A series of attacks targeting the international community in Benghazi have led UNHCR and other agencies to reduce their presence in eastern Libya.
Libya continues to be a major mixed-migration route in the region. Refugees and asylum-seekers comprise part of the mixed movements, the management of which is made more complex by the absence of a national asylum system. At the end of August 2012, the total number of refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR stood at approximately 10,000.
While a party to the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, Libya has not promulgated national legislation or established administrative structures dealing with asylum. Despite discussions with the Libyan authorities on the matter, no formal agreement has been reached, and UNHCR's status in the country remains unsettled.
Meanwhile, the Office seeks to expand the protection space for people of concern, including by helping the Libyan authorities to develop protection-sensitive migration policies.
Most of the more than 550,000 people who were internally displaced during the course of the uprising have returned to their areas of origin and are in the process of reintegration. Nevertheless, local conflicts have resulted in the new internal displacement of more than 25,000 people.
At the end of August 2012, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Libya remained somewhere between 65,000 and 80,000, a population composed mostly of minorities, such as the Tawerghas, who are unwilling or unable to return to their areas of origin for fear of reprisals.
Since the uprising, UNHCR has been assessing the risk of statelessness for certain populations in the southern part of the country. It estimates that some 50,000 people are potentially at risk of statelessness.
Refugees and asylum-seekers continue to arrive in Libya despite a fragile protection environment. Sub-Saharan Africans in particular face a greater risk of arrest and detention. Serious concerns persist regarding access to food and basic services, in particular water, sanitation and health, for people of concern to UNHCR. Refugees and asylum-seekers who lost their sources of livelihood during the uprising may continue to opt for dangerous migration routes across the Mediterranean.
According to reports received by UNHCR, thousands of Syrians entered Libya between 2011 and 2012. While many had lived and worked in Libya before the uprising, others, some of whom are vulnerable and have special needs, are fleeing the violence in the Syrian Arab Republic.
For the IDPs who remain unable to return to their places of origin, UNHCR will work with the UN Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the Libyan Humanitarian Relief Agency (LibAid) to address concerns relating to protection during displacement, the continuity of humanitarian assistance and the identification of interim and durable solutions.
Efforts to prevent and reduce statelessness will continue. Many members of transnational and semi-nomadic populations, such as the Tuareg and Tebu, lack basic citizenship documentation, including birth registration, and have also been affected by local conflicts.
|UNHCR 2013 planning figures for Libya|
|TYPE OF POPULATION||ORIGIN||JAN 2013||DEC 2013|
|TOTAL IN COUNTRY||OF WHOM ASSISTED
|TOTAL IN COUNTRY||OF WHOM ASSISTED
|Persons in refugee-like situations||Various||5,500||5,500||8,000||5,000|
Main objectives and targets for 2013
Favourable protection environment
Access to the territory is improved and risk of refoulement is reduced for refugees and asylum-seekers.
The extent to which border authorities refer asylum-seekers to competent authorities is improved.
Fair protection processes and documentation
The level of individual documentation is increased.
All people of concern are provided with individual protection documentation.
Basic needs and essential services
Services for refugees with specific needs are strengthened.
Some 70 per cent of refugees with disabilities are provided with access to services for their specific needs.
Nearly 70 per cent of elderly refugees with specific needs are provided with access to services.
Community empowerment and self-reliance
Self-reliance and livelihoods are improved for refugees.
Some 675 refugees benefit from vocational training.
Security from violence and exploitation
The risk of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is reduced and the quality of the response to it is improved.
The support given to SGBV survivors is improved.
Strategy and activities in 2013
While UNHCR has shifted its focus from humanitarian relief to longer-term interventions that support the establishment of a national asylum system, the immediate needs of people of concern in the volatile post-revolutionary environment will require a rapid response.
UNHCR's strategy in 2013 will focus on maximizing the available protection space and providing needed assistance in urban areas, camp-like settings and detention centres.
In coordination with the Libyan authorities, the strategy will include strengthening registration and refugee status determination activities, promoting and facilitating durable solutions, and assisting vulnerable people of concern.
UNHCR will work closely with the Libyan authorities to address the challenges of mixed migration. It will support the establishment of a protection-sensitive migration and asylum framework by building the capacity of the Government and national NGOs. Protection monitoring will continue to be a priority, particularly for people of concern from sub-Saharan Africa, as will humanitarian relief and legal assistance for those rescued at sea or languishing in detention centres.
The remaining IDP population will receive UNHCR's protection and benefit from advocacy in support of interim and durable solutions, which will continue to be linked to Libya's larger national reconciliation process. UNHCR's strategy for 2013 will also include protection monitoring of populations at risk of statelessness, as well as the promotion of durable solutions in collaboration with UNSMIL and the Libyan authorities.
The operational environment in 2013 is expected to remain fragile and unpredictable. Plans to enhance the protection space for people of concern remain constrained by the lack of a country agreement and general uncertainty during the post-conflict transition period.
Organization and Implementation
Many of the inter-agency humanitarian clusters that were phased out at the beginning of 2012 have been replaced by various sectoral and thematic working groups that respond to the remaining humanitarian needs. UNHCR continues to chair the Protection Working Group and provides critical support to the IDP coordination structure. UNHCR also continues to build partnerships with local NGOs and the Libyan Red Crescent as well as LibAid.
Pending the signing of a country agreement with the authorities to formalize UNHCR's presence and activities in Libya, the comprehensive requirements for the operation have been halved from USD 31.4 million in 2012 to USD 16.6 million in 2013.
Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2013 Update
UNHCR contact information
|The UNHCR Representation in Libya|
|Style of Address||The UNHCR Representative in Libya|
|Street Address||Next to Tarek Ben Zayad School
|Mailing Address||Next to Tarek Ben Zayad School
|Telephone||+218 21 477 0262|
|Facsimile||+218 21 477 0267|
|Time Zone||GMT + 2:00|
|Public Holidays||15 Febraury 2011, Mouloud (Prophet's Birthday)
2 March 2011, Jamahiriya Day
28 March 2011, British Evacuation Day
11 June 2011, American Evacuation Day
28 June 2011, Ascension of the Prophet
30 August 2011, Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
1 September 2011, Revolution Day (National Day)
7 october 2011, Italian Evacuation Day
6 November 2011, Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
26 November 2011, Islamic New Year