Operation: Opération: Libya



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Key Figures

2017 year-end results
100% of all official detention centres were visited and monitored throughout the year
49,240 non-food items were distributed to refugees and migrants in detention centres and at disembarkation points
28,320 medical consultations were provided to refugees and migrants in detention centres and disembarkation points
1,430 refugees and asylum-seekers were released from detention following UNHCR’s advocacy efforts
389 detained refugees and asylum-seekers were evacuated through the ETM to Italy and Niger for forward solutions to a third safe place 
320  people were referred for resettlement
2018 planning figures
100% of reception conditions will meet minimum standards
100% of people with disabilities will receive services for their specific needs
100% of refugees identified for resettlement will have their cases submitted for resettlement
100% of the identified and accessed detention conditions will meet minimum standards
100% of refugees identified at the disembarkation points, detention centres and in the CDCs will have access to primary health care
100% of refugees identified at the disembarkation points, detention centres and in the CDCs will have sufficient  basic and domestic items 

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2017 375,840
2016 662,897
2015 471,653


[["Refugees",9352],["Asylum-seekers",35668],["IDPs",180937],["Returned IDPs",149883]]
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2017 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[18.29967982,19.0845059,20.43036002,23.865039,74.07170781,84.99999797],"expenditure":[6.72035615,7.31457152,8.54921236,12.12147176,44.15299434,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[13.34674547,16.6945059,18.21231402,18.82037598,59.92643981,74.34143297],"p2":[2.16251618,0.34,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[2.79041817,2.05,2.218046,5.04466302,14.145268,10.658565]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[6.09107143,6.90089752,6.71457381,9.79650861,33.18794716,null],"p2":[0.31574905,0.03065,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[0.31353567,0.383024,1.83463855,2.32496315,10.96504718,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

Working environment

In 2016, Libya continued to experience political instability and armed conflict, which triggered internal displacement. Benghazi, Derna, Sabha, Tripoli, Ubari and Zintan are among the major cities affected.
Libya remained the main gateway for mixed movements towards Italy. More than 90 per cent of the 180,000 sea arrivals to Italy in 2016 departed from Libya.
Humanitarian access continues to be a challenge. UNHCR has been operating remotely from Tunis, Tunisia since 2014 but is maintaining its presence inside Libya through national staff and partners. Short missions to Libya resumed in 2016. 

Population trends

  • 697,600 people of concern in Libya, including approximately 241,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), 356,000 IDP returnees and an estimated 100,000 refugees and asylum-seekers
  • Of the estimated 100,000 refugees and asylum-seekers inside Libya, 38,670 are registered with UNHCR. They are mainly from the Syrian Arab Republic (50%), Palestine (15%), Eritrea (12%), Iraq (8%), Somalia (6%) and Sudan (6%)
  • UNHCR resumed registration in December 2015 and registered 1,900 asylum-seekers in 2016

Achievements and impact

  • UNHCR resumed registration and continued protection monitoring in Libya through its three community development centres (providing information, registration, counselling, health care and in-kind/cash assistance for refugees) home visits and phone hotlines.
  • UNHCR maintained access to 15 detention centres, managed by the Department for Combatting Illegal Migration, to identify vulnerable cases, advocate for their release, and provide life-saving assistance.
  • UNHCR established a presence in 5 disembarkation points and provided core-relief items and emergency health care to people intercepted/rescued at sea and disembarked in Libya.

Unmet needs

  • Registration capacity was limited. Libyan authorities are supportive of UNHCR’s efforts to register persons from seven countries considered as “refugee producing” but there might be some other individuals in need of international protection.
  • UNHCR activities in the eastern part of the country were hampered by new bureaucratic impediments and security conditions. Moreover, the expansion of UNHCR activities in the south was hampered by insecurity and logistical constraints. The distribution of cash assistance was affected by the liquidity crisis in Libya, as well as local regulations adopted by authorities.
  • There is a need to develop practical arrangements for the reception of refugees and asylum seekers, in particular for children and vulnerable women, and to move away from the current detention paradigm. 


Four years after the revolution, Libya continues to navigate a tumultuous transition period characterized by deep political divisions, heavy fighting, and rising insecurity and criminality.
There are some 37,000 registered asylum-seekers and refugees in Libya, originating mostly from Eritrea, Iraq, Somalia, the State of Palestine, Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic. In addition there are over 435,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Libya. 
Given the security situation, access and movements continue to pose operational challenges. Mixed movements towards Europe are likely to continue unabated through trafficking networks and smuggling routes.
Protection assistance to people of concern will continue through adapted modalities. Prioritized activities in 2016 will remain border monitoring, registration, provision of cash and core relief items, medical assistance, advocacy for alternatives to detention and lifesaving interventions in the context of mixed movements. 
UNHCR will carry out limited refugee status determination and resettlement for extremely vulnerable people in need of durable solutions. Through expanded community outreach, the Office and its partners will detect and reduce protection risks faced by people of concern, in particular sexual and gender-based violence, through support to community-based protection mechanisms, development of referral mechanisms and awareness-raising. Focus will also be on supporting IDP returnees and refugees/asylum seekers in urban areas and work on protection sensitive border management in response to mixed movements, as well as continued efforts to find alternative solutions to detention.
Activities affected by lack of funding in 2016 will include efforts to strengthen child protection services, provide core relief items; enhance registration, and conduct detention centre monitoring.