Libya in Turmoil

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Crisis in Libya: Dying for a chance to live

Libya remains Africa’s main departure point to Europe for migrants seeking safety and opportunity.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers, including young children, have traveled to Libya to reach Europe, trying to find a safe place to call home after fleeing devastating violence, persecution and conflict at home. Those who do choose to make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean are at risk of drowning, turned away when they reach a port, or are intercepted at sea and sent back to Libya to be held in detention centres. UNHCR needs your support to help with the immediate humanitarian crisis in Libya, and find safe, legal routes for resettlement for refugees and the over 300,000 Internally Displaced Persons in Libya.

Due to escalating conflict since April 2019, conditions in Libya are now extremely dangerous for refugees.

Help Refugees in Libya

A Snapshot of refugee journeys to Europe in 2018

have died in 2019 making the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean


funding gap (as of Feb. 2020)

Internally Displaced Persons in Libya

estimates of refugees and migrants currently held in detention centres in Libya

How You Can Help

UNHCR is funded almost entirely by donations from individuals, corporations, and governments. When you support UNHCR’s projects such as the Libya Emergency, you are contributing directly to providing emergency relief to refugees and internally displaced persons in Libya who need it most.

We are on the ground providing immediate humanitarian aid to those arriving, departing or living in Libya. This includes core-relief items, shelter, cash and evacuating the most vulnerable refugees from Libya.

UNHCR’s overall requirements for its comprehensive response in Libya currently total CAD$116.6 million for 2019.

UNHCR evacuates hundreds of vulnerable refugees to safety in Libya

No Route to Safety

On average, one person has died for every six people who have arrived in Europe from Libya so far this year, despite a decrease in arrivals overall.

Those who do choose to make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean are at risk of drowning and trafficking. Many are turned away when they reach a port, and others are sent back to Libya where they will be sent to live in inhumane detention centers, where they risk starvation, sexual abuse and torture.

Despite UNHCR and other organizations having strengthened their presence and assistance to reach more people on the move in need of international protection, the exposure to risks and abuses along the route has only increased. Poor health conditions correlate closely with extended periods in captivity at the hands of traffickers and smugglers, according to the testimonies of people arriving in Europe from Libya and interviewed by UNHCR. Some reported being held by armed groups for a year or more, usually for ransom or for forced labour.

“you can die in the desert, you can die in Libya, you can die in the sea” – Djokal, 19, asylum-seeker from Senegal

Your donation can help protect Refugees

Hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers need a safe place to call home. With your support, we can reduce risks and strengthen protection.

Donate to Refugees in Libya

Gathering and Departure Facility Opening

In December 2018, the Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) for vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers opened in Tripoli. The GDF is the first of its kind in the country and is intended to bring vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers to a safe environment while solutions – including resettlement, family reunification, return to a country of previous admission or evacuation to emergency facilities – are identified. The facility, managed by UNHCR, LibAid and the Ministry of Interior, represents one of a range of measures offering viable alternatives to detention.  

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