Refugees in Zuwarah, Libya | Photo: EPA/STR
Refugees in Zuwarah, Libya | Photo: EPA/STR

UNHCR is calling on the international community to not abandon displaced people in Libya, who it says are "suffering immensely."

UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees Kelly T. Clements conducted a two-day visit to Libya on Monday and Tuesday last week.

She said people in Libya are "suffering immensely" and "must not be overlooked" in a statement released by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

"It's crucial that humanitarian support keeps pace with the rising needs," Clements said. 

She appealed to the international community to provide more support for refugees and internally displaced people. 

There are more than 268,000 Libyans who are now displaced inside the country.  There are also over 50,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in the country. 

Work to put an end to arbitrary detention 

In Tripoli, Clements visited a refugee center and spoke to migrants from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia, who expressed their frustration about the dire conditions in detention centers. 

During discussions with the interior minister, Fathi Bashagha, UNHCR said that they were committed to work together towards ending arbitrary detention in Libya, where over 4,800 refugees and migrants are detained. 

Clements expressed UNHCR's availability to support refugees in the community after being released from detention. 

Since start of 2019, 1,345 resettled from Libya 

Since the start of 2019, 1,345 refugees have left Libya as part of a resettlement program. 

"Solutions in safe third countries change the lives of refugees," Clements said. "It's a lifeline, but options are very limited. We need additional support from the international community to expedite evacuations, resettlement and provide additional legal pathways for refugees in Libya." 

Clements said that providing humanitarian aid for displaced people in Libya was very important, but also not easy. "The humanitarian community is faced by many challenges, including security and limited access," she said. "Only ten days ago, three UN personnel lost their lives in Benghazi in a horrific attack. We are nonetheless resolved to continue our work to support Libya and will work together for persons who are suffering in the country." 

More articles