UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, urged the Libyan government on Friday to immediately address the dire situation of asylum–seekers and refugees in a humane and rights-based manner.
“Raids and arbitrary arrests by the authorities this month targeted areas largely populated by refugees and asylum–seekers that resulted in several deaths, thousands detained, and many homeless and destitute,” UNHCR said in a statement.
“Since the start of the security raids and arrests by the Libyan authorities in October, we have witnessed a sharp deterioration in the situation facing vulnerable asylum–seekers and refugees in Tripoli,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Western and Central Mediterranean Situation.
“The Libyan authorities must come up with a proper plan that respects their rights and identifies durable solutions.”
Some 3,000 people are currently sheltering outside the Community Day Centre (CDC) in Tripoli, where UNHCR and its partners have been providing medical assistance and other services. Their situation is very precarious, UNHCR pointed out.
“Many were affected by the raids, demolition of their homes, and have escaped from detention in terrible conditions. Others have joined the group hoping to be evacuated,” the statement said.
“Many have been left homeless and lost all their belongings as a result of the security operation and are now sleeping in the cold and in a very unsafe environment. This is utterly unacceptable,” said Cochetel.
“UNHCR and partners had to suspend operations at the Community Day Centre for security and safety reasons, but remain engaged in an active dialogue with representatives of the protesters outside the CDC to explain the limited assistance it can offer, including cash and food assistance,” according to the UN Agency.