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UNHCR Urges Libya to Urgently Develop Plan for Asylum Seekers, Refugees

UNHCR Urges Libya to Urgently Develop Plan for Asylum Seekers, Refugees

Saturday, 23 October, 2021 - 07:00
The Libyan authorities deport 128 migrants from The Gambia. (Libyan Anti-Illegal Immigration Department)

The UN Refugee Agency has urged the Libyan government to immediately address the dire situation of asylum-seekers and refugees in a humane and rights-based manner.

Libyan Anti-Illegal Immigration Department on Friday said 128 migrants were voluntarily deported from Libya to their country of origin.

Raids and arbitrary arrests by the authorities this month targeted areas largely populated by refugees and asylum-seekers that resulted in several deaths, and thousands detained.

“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.”

“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.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Doctors without Borders (MSF) said the raids, mostly targeting irregular migrants, left more than 5,000 detained.

Since weeks, around 2,000 African migrants have been protesting outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees headquarters, demanding to deport them to a third country through the Voluntary Humanitarian Return program.

The UN Refugee Agency has welcomed authorization to restart humanitarian evacuation flights but warns that it is not enough.

“This is a positive development for some of the most vulnerable refugees, who have been waiting anxiously for many months to depart,” said Cochetel.

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