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Libya, the humanitarian challenge: more and more displaced, while the international staff decreases and the State does not exist

the ROME - Jean-Paul Cavalieri, head of the mission in Libya for UNHCR, during a sitting of the Foreign affairs Commission of the Chamber of deputies, in the

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Libya, the humanitarian challenge: more and more displaced, while the international staff decreases and the State does not exist
the ROME - Jean-Paul Cavalieri, head of the mission in Libya for UNHCR, during a sitting of the Foreign affairs Commission of the Chamber of deputies, in the framework of the consultation on Italy's foreign policy for peace and stability in the Mediterranean, underlines a situation of constant increase of humanitarian needs on the ground, with hundreds of children, women and men displaced, and many humanitarian challenges, with almost a million people in need of humanitarian assistance, according to estimates from the United Nations Office for humanitarian affairs (OCHA). In 2019, according to figures from the UN have been at least 284 civilians dead, and the other 363 were injured as a result of the armed conflict.

In Tripoli increase to the displaced. Is steadily increasing the number of displaced people in Tripoli, who are in need of humanitarian assistance on the ground. Despite the crisis, the country continues to attract foreign labour force: estimated 655.000 refugees and migrants are in Libya for reasons of work, including approximately 43,000 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with the United Nations Agency for refugees. However, the security conditions in the Country continue to expose to security risks, human rights violations, exploitation and abuse hundreds of thousands of migrants who remain trapped in detention centers“.

Decreased the migrants in detention. Of the approximately 43,000 asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR in Libya, some 2,000 are held arbitrarily in detention. The number, " emphasizes Jean-Paul Cavalieri, is decreased. If the evacuations from the Agency continue to offer solutions that are lifesaving for vulnerable refugees, on the other, the authorities of the Ministry of the Interior of the libyan Government of National Agreement (GNA), because of the conflict, are unable to ensure food and decide to open the doors of the detention centres,” explains Knights. In other situations, detention centers are, in fact, were used by the same militia as military bases; such as Tajoura, bombed last July. The detention centre is near a depot of military supplies for the militia that supports the Government of Tripoli recognised by the United Nations.

The challenges on the ground are enormous. because of the continuous fighting and conflict going on all around the Country, with more than 217.000 people internally displaced, the United Nations Agency does not have access to all people in need of humanitarian assistance in Libya. “And very difficult to reach people in the south of Libya, where there are many displaced persons, or in the area of Benghazi,” continues Paul Knights. Last summer in Benghazi, three United Nations officials and two other people were killed in an attack in the capital of eastern Libya. “The presence is very limited on the ground, and the staff is insufficient to handle the challenges,” adds Knights. Because of the conflict there has been a drastic reduction in the staff of the UNHCR in the Country, with only 7 international players who work for the Agency of the United Nations.

Militias and the weak state structure in libya. The balance of power and alliances have a variable geometry in a Libya constantly in search of stability and of a delicate political process, motivated by the symmetries of a tribal fragment the boundaries of the state in libya. The rivalry of local, regional and nations that exist within the government of Tripoli, recognized by the United Nations, intricano the reports of the Agency of the United Nations; “it is not always clear to understand what is the chain of power and command,” explains Jean-Paul Cavalieri, head of the mission in Libya from the United Nations High commissioner for Refugees (Unhcr). In fact, there are various stakeholders within the ministry of the interior and a vertical structure, but also a horizontal one; “if we speak with the minister of the Interior, libyan, and then with his deputy, with the latter begins a new negotiation. The officials are loyal to their superiors, but also to the tribes from which they come”, continues the head of the mission in Libya for UNHCR, and he explains to the Foreign affairs committee “the militias are, in fact, our interlocutors, but also the official representatives designated by the ministry of the Interior”.

Italy remains in the front line evacuations. From September 2017 have been more than 4,000 people evacuated from Libya, including about 3000 in Niger in the framework of the mechanism of transit emergency UNHCR-funded by the EU. In 2019, were evacuated 2,500 people, with the Maximum support received from the Italian embassy in Tripoli, and more than 800 evacuations direct in Italy. There remains, however, alarming situation of the refugees in urban areas, with people who pay for access to detention centres in the hope that Unhcr can identify them and ricollocarli in other Countries. Hundreds of thousands of people struggle for their daily survival, including the staff of the organization “which you must move each day through the checkpoint, where he was also a gun to his temple, says the head of the UNHCR office in Libya, and concludes, “there are also many examples of early marriage or child labour”.

libyan coast Guard and the landings in Libya. To the Commission of the Italian Chamber, the representative of the UNHCR in Libya underlines how the 30-35% of the migrants intercepted at sea be abandoned “to their fate” to the earth, because “the conflict has interrupted the connection that existed between the libyan coast Guard and the ministry of the Interior,” says Knights. Asylum seekers living outside the detention centres, i.e. the majority, seek the support of the organization, but not always the community Center during the day (Community Day Centre/CDC) of the UNHCR has been active in the Gurji, in the district of Tripoli, he manages to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees and asylum seekers. The package of monetary assistance the city and that of the UNHCR in Libya has reached only 5% of the population, underlines the representative of the UNHCR, and “we will try to increase the program in 2020.”

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