UNHCR personnel assisting migrants in Tripoli who had survived the sinking of their ship off the Libyan coast | Photo: ANSA/UNHCR
UNHCR personnel assisting migrants in Tripoli who had survived the sinking of their ship off the Libyan coast | Photo: ANSA/UNHCR

UNHCR is trying to reduce the number of migrants in an EU-funded center in Tripoli, noting that the situation in the center is very difficult.

The UN's refugee agency UNHCR is trying to reduce the number of migrants currently hosted at the EU-funded Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in the Libyan city of Tripoli. The facilities are currently hosting 1,200 people, double its maximum capacity. 


"The situation is very difficult, and we do not have the resources" or the ability to create healthy conditions for so many, said Charlie Yaxley, spokesperson of the UNHCR in Libya. He added that there is the need to create space for the most vulnerable. 

Assistance package to leave the center 

The agency asked refugees not registered with the EU-funded UNHCR to leave the center and offered to provide an assistance package to them if they do which will include cash support for the first two months. It added that if they remain they will not be eligible to be considered for evacuation or resettlement in other countries. 

The UNHCR said it would phase out food distribution for the unregistered migrants, including dozens of tuberculosis patients, from January 1.

Migrants' concerns 

The idea was to facilitate the migrants' return to their countries of origin or to those in which they requested asylum but the migrants are terrified of ending up in detention centers or at the mercy of traffickers. One migrant seeking shelter at the center said that they were also afraid of ending up amid the ongoing conflict in the areas around Tripoli between the forces under General Khalifa Haftar and those under the UN-backed government. 

Due to the conflict - in July airstrikes had hit a migrant detention center near the capital, killing over 50 people - many migrants hosted in other facilities have since moved to the EU-funded center but UNHCR says that this is unsustainable. The UN agency added that it is necessary that the facilities be available for the most vulnerable refugees: women, children, the ill and people who suffered abuse in detention centers run by Libyan militias. 
 

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