By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 11 December 2017:
The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, has urgently appealed for 1,300 “highly vulnerable” refugees stranded in Libya to be resettled elsewhere by end of next March.
“This is a desperate call for solidarity and humanity. We need to get extremely vulnerable refugees out of Libya as soon as possible,” said Volker Türk, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection.
The calls comes as part of the UNHCR’s ‘Flash Appeal’ that seeks to alleviate and rescue those facing “appalling, often life-threatening conditions” that routinely result in serious violations of their human rights.
“Given the imminent humanitarian needs and the rapidly deteriorating conditions in detention centres in Libya, UNHCR is actively working to organize more life-saving refugee evacuations to Niger in the coming weeks and months,” said Türk.
The 1,300 include unaccompanied children, single female parents, women at risk, people with serious medical conditions and those who have allegedly been tortured in their journey or in detention.
“Given the seriousness of the situation for refugees in Libya, we need to explore all sorts of solutions, including resettlement, family reunification, evacuation to UNHCR-run emergency facilities in other countries, or voluntary return,” Turk added.
The aim is that the refugees would be sent first to Niger and from there to the receiving county.
Last month, even before the uproar resulting from the broadcast of a CNN video allegedly showing migrants being sold in Libya at an auction, France had agreed to take 25 Eritreans, Ethiopians and Sudanese who had been in detention camps in Libya. These included including 15 women and four children. They were taken to Niger and are expected to reach France next month. Switzerland has also agreed to take 80. Other European countries are also said to have agreed to take in refugees as part of the UNHCR’s emergency programme to resettle 5,000 refugees being held in Libyan detention centres.