Operation: Opération: Libya



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
36,000 people were assisted through non-food items
21,870 medical consultations and 250 referrals were provided for people of concern in detention
15,250 people of concern were registered
15,000 urban refugees were provided with emergency core relief items
1,300 shelter repair kits were distributed across three locations (Benghazi, Al Masahisa, and Tawergha), helping 6,500 people repair damage to their homes
940 people were granted refugee status and processed for resettlement
410 people of concern were screened for refugee status determination while in detention, resulting in 325 recommendations for evacuation
2019 planning figures
90% of refugees and asylum-seekers will be provided with individual documentation
65% of IDP households assisted with basic needs and domestic items
70,000 refugees and asylum-seekers registered
2,000 cases will be submitted for resettlement

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2018 270,379
2017 375,840
2016 662,897


[["Refugees",8794],["Asylum-seekers",47414],["IDPs",170490],["Returned IDPs",43681]]
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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[19.0845059,20.43036002,23.865039,74.07170781,84.99999797,88.12093563],"expenditure":[7.31457152,8.54921236,12.12147176,44.15299434,44.23830207,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[16.6945059,18.21231402,18.82037598,59.92643981,74.34143297,61.15210551],"p2":[0.34,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[2.05,2.218046,5.04466302,14.145268,10.658565,26.96883012]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[6.90089752,6.71457381,9.79650861,33.18794716,34.22795101,null],"p2":[0.03065,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[0.383024,1.83463855,2.32496315,10.96504718,10.01035106,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Operational environment

The overall political and security situation in Libya remained highly volatile in 2018, with ongoing instability affecting UNHCR’s operations and access. Living conditions continued to deteriorate, while safety and security incidents led to ongoing displacement. Targeted attacks on civilians were reported throughout the year, while instances of arbitrary detention and torture continued to rise. UNHCR’s access to people of concern was extremely limited, impairing its capacity to provide protection and essential services, especially for women, girls, and people with specific needs.

Libya was the main transit and departure point for mixed movements from North Africa towards Europe, where smuggling and trafficking networks operated amidst political and security turmoil. The Libyan coast guard continued to intercept and/or disembark individuals at sea, transferring them to detention centres where numerous human rights violations were reported. UNHCR provided support at disembarkation points, as well as monitoring visits to Libyan detention centres. Despite advocating for the release of more than 2,700 people in need of international protection, access to detainees remained limited during the year.

The volatile security context — coupled with difficulties in obtaining visas — led to a limited UNHCR staff presence, forcing many to work remotely. However, despite this challenging environment, the Operation was able to support 68,240 internally displaced persons (IDPs) with non-food items in over 14 cities. UNHCR and its partners also completed 115 quick impact projects (QIPs) with the active participation of host communities and IDPs, and in consultation with local authorities, to foster peaceful coexistence and resilience.

Population trends

An estimated 1.1 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance in Libya, including some 170,500 IDPs; 43,700 IDP returnees; and 56,000 refugees and asylum-seekers – 10% of whom are believed to have been detained. The majority of refugees and asylum-seekers lived in an urban context.
Despite the security situation in Libya, 2018 saw a decrease in the overall number of IDPs from the year prior due to many Libyans returning to their areas of origin.

Key achievements

  • The gathering and departure facility (GDF), managed by UNHCR together with the Government and an NGO partner, opened in December 2018 as an alternative to detention. Some 223 POCs were hosted in the facility, out of whom 221 were evacuated from Libya in December 2018. 
  • UNHCR provided three months of multipurpose cash assistance to 1,700 IDP and IDP returnees across Libya.
  • Despite complex protection circumstances, refugees and asylum-seekers continued to have access to protection through the provision of essential services and registration. The Office issued protection letters and provided access to refugee status determination (RSD) and resettlement (RST) despite the security conditions.
  • In close coordination with the operation in Niger, UNHCR managed to evacuate hundreds of people from detention to the emergency transit mechanism (ETM) in Niger to Italy, where their cases were processed for appropriate durable solutions, including resettlement.

Unmet needs

  • Protection activities were affected following a deterioration of the security situation, most notably around Tripoli where clashes forced UNHCR to temporarily close its registration and RSD/RST premises. 
  • The IDP population was also impacted by the fluctuating security situation, ranging from physical threats to inaccessibility of public services.
  • Planned capacity-building activities were postponed indefinitely, again due to the volatile security climate. 

Working environment

Civilians in Libya continue to suffer as a result of conflict, insecurity, political instability and a collapsing economy. The direct humanitarian impact has been that hundreds of thousands of people across the country are now suffering, living in unsafe conditions, with little or no access to life-saving health care, essential medicines, food, safe drinking water, shelter and education. A total of 1.3 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Close to 43,000 refugees and asylum-seekers are registered with UNHCR, being part of the estimated 100,000 people in need of international protection. In addition, there are some 226,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) and 267,000 IDP returnees.
UNHCR has scaled up its response to meet the increasing humanitarian needs of refugees, asylum-seekers, IDPs, returnees and host communities in a comprehensive manner.
As a vital part of its response, UNHCR will continue to coordinate with Libyan authorities, UN sister agencies, non-governmental organizations and Libyan civil society organizations and will continue to lead the Protection Sector, the Shelter/NFI Sector and Cash & Market Working Group and co-lead, together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Mixed Migration Working Group (MMWG).

Key priorities

In 2018, UNHCR will focus on:
  • Identifying and documenting people in need of international protection, providing life-saving assistance and seek solutions for the most vulnerable, whether at disembarkation points, detention facilities or in urban areas, in line with UNHCR’s comprehensive regional strategy to mitigate protection risks along main migratory routes;
  • Providing assistance to IDPs, returnees and host communities, through community-level quick impact projects and the delivery of cash and in-kind assistance;
  • Engaging with Libyan authorities to promote the progressive development of a national protection framework; advocate for alternatives to detention; and support measures to prevent sexual and gender-based violence;
  • Strengthening communication with communities through expanded partnerships and mass information campaigns to highlight the risks along the Central Mediterranean route.
Latest contributions
  • 17-JUL-2019
  • 16-JUL-2019
  • 11-JUL-2019
  • 10-JUL-2019
  • 08-JUL-2019
    European Union
  • Kuwait
  • 05-JUL-2019
  • 04-JUL-2019

    private donors

  • European Union
  • Japan
  • 03-JUL-2019
  • 02-JUL-2019
  • 30-JUN-2019

    private donors

  • Argentina
  • Sweden

    private donors

  • Spain
  • Oman

    private donors

  • United Arab Emirates

    private donors

  • Kuwait

    private donors

  • Saudi Arabia

    private donors