Libya: UN ramps up cooperation to help hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees and migrants

Migrants in a migrant detention centre in Libya. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM)/2017

30 May 2017 – Two United Nations agencies today pledged to join forces and “go the extra mile” by expanding operations in Libya and enhancing their support to migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and Libyans affected by the ongoing conflict.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, joined William Lacy Swing, the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), at a senior-level briefing at IOM’s Geneva headquarters where they briefed member States on their recent missions to Libya and called for support to broader stabilization efforts in the country.

The High Commissioner’s Office (UNHCR) issued today a Supplementary Appeal for $75.5 million to meet the increased humanitarian and protection needs of people in Libya – including internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities, as well as refugees and asylum seekers.

The appeal includes protection monitoring and interventions, as well as advocacy on issues related to respect for human rights, access to basic services, asylum procedures and freedom of movement.

“We have urgent work to do in Libya and can only do it together,” said Mr. Grandi, adding: “We are going the extra mile in trying to make a difference for hundreds of thousands of people.”

Last week, UNHCR warned that hundreds of thousands of people in the crisis-gripped North African country have been affected by the collapse of law and order, absent or insufficient health care assistance, essential medicines, food, safe drinking water, shelter and education.

For its part, IOM in April launched a three-year Action Plan for Libya with two key objectives. The first is to provide evidence based humanitarian assistance and protection to both displaced Libyans and migrants. The second objective is to stabilize Libyan communities, as well as to build Libyan capacities in migration management. That appeal is for in excess of $180 million, lasting for a total of 36 months.

“While IOM has already started to implement the Action Plan, thanks to funding from some donors, greater financial support is needed in order to urgently assist and protect migrants and conflict affected populations in Libya,” Director General Swing said. He emphasized all IOM activities are coordinated and implemented in cooperation with the Libyan authorities and UNHCR.


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