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31 December 2012
Most of the 243,000 people displaced in Libya in 2011 had returned to their homes by the end of 2012. Up to 50,000 IDPs remained in protracted displacement, the majority from the north-eastern town of Tawargha. Some live in rented apartments, but the majority remain in an estimated 132 displacement camps.
All parties to Libya’s bitter civil war committed grave human rights violations. The enmity between the warring factions reached its climax in the summer of 2011 when Tawargha’s 45,000 inhabitants fled in anticipation of an attack by militias from Misrata. Some 2,000 homes were subsequently destroyed in the assault, and the inhabitants of Misrata remain bitterly opposed to the return of the displaced Tawarghans. In the Nafusa Mountains, the Mshashiya people were the target of post-conflict reprisals, which led to the displacement of around 17,000 people.
A similar pattern of enmity affected the town of Zintan and the pro-Qadhafi village of Awynya in 2012.
Libyan IDPs continue to face security risks such as extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and torture, according to a May 2012 report by the UN Human Rights Council commission of inquiry. Post-war reconstruction is well underway, but threats against people still living in displacement had not diminished by the end of the year. Sporadic armed clashes continue in some areas, and insecurity and instability remain a significant concern.
The UN Support Mission in Libya organised a conference on truth and reconciliation in December 2012 as part of efforts to allay communal tensions. The conference included the issue of IDPs, but the means of achieving durable solutions in the form of return or local integration are still to be established.
Libya: Amid the elections, on-going hostilities continue to displace thousands
(11 July 2012)
While official results have yet to be announced, Libya’s first national elections on 7th
July, in the post-Qadhafi era represented a positive step in the delicate transition towards democracy. Yet in the days leading up to the elections, violence
in communities where tensions still exist have resulted in several casualties with thousands more becoming displaced.
In the southern town of Kufra, for example, 50 families have been displaced due to the fighting between opposing groups, while in Zintan, Shegiga and Mizdah 105 people were killed and thousands more displaced
. There also remain serious concerns regarding IDPs who are unable to return due on-going hostilities in and around their places of origin. People of Tawergha, associated with Qadhafi, continue to be subjected to abduction
, arbitrary arrest and torture by militias, for example.
Indeed, internal displacement remains of serious concern in Libya. According to UNHCR, over the past three months the number of people internally displaced has remained at around 74,000. As the country struggles to consolidate a democratic government, solutions for IDPs as for other victims of the violence will need to not only address the root causes of the tensions, but also impunity for violations.
Libya: New displacements in Kufra as concerns for IDPs remain high
(8 March 2012)
One year following the Libyan uprising, IDPs continue to face major protection concerns. At the beginning of 2012 around 60,000 IDPs, principally from Sirte and Bani Walid, returned to their homes. However, UNHCR estimated that there were
still over 93,000 IDPs in Libya, a significant proportion of whom are from tribes alleged to be loyal to Qadhafi, such as the Tawergha and Mesheshiya.
Human rights organisations report that authorities in and around Misrata have prevented
thousands from returning to the towns of Tawergha, Tomina and Kararim. They have further failed to stop local militias from looting and burning homes in these areas, and carrying out
reprisal attacks against IDPs who allegedly supported Qadhafi. Many of these IDPs have been subject to abductions, arbitrary detention and torture.
Meanwhile, the south-eastern town of Kufra saw inter-ethnic clashes between the Tibu and Zwai tribes. The two groups have a long history of violence, and the Tabu had long complained of discrimination under Qadhafi. This recent event has reportedly resulted
in the deaths of at least 100 people, and the displacement of half the population. As of 23 February, there was reportedly no electricity, water or fuel in the town.
In a briefing to the UN Security Council at the end of February, the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Libya welcomed
the adoption of a national electoral law, but identified the lack of measures to ensure the participation of displaced people in election proceedings.
Libya: Thousands still displaced from Bani Walid and Sirte
(25 November 2011)
A month since the Libyan interim government declared the country’s liberation on 23 October, many people remain internally displaced and further assistance from international organisations is needed
to avoid local coping capacities being overwhelmed. As of 31 October, according to OCHA, an estimated 80,000 people had fled
from Bani Walid and Sirte, many of them to areas around Tripoli, Misrata and Benghazi; the International Medical Corps (IMC) reported that some 10,000 people from Sirte city centre had taken refuge
on the outskirts of the city. An estimated 30,000 IDPs were spread
across the east of Libya.
In mid-November, however, the Civil Council of Bani Walid estimated
that from 70 to 75 per cent of its population of between
70,000 and 80,000 had returned. Those remaining in displacement were either still living in camps, or with host families or in rented accommodation. Their return seems to be delayed by damage to their homes and their lack of cash.
The return of IDPs to Sirte has been slower, as electricity supplies are still limited and the infrastructure has been badly damaged. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross / Red Crescent (ICRC), only an estimated 10,000 people displaced from Sirte had been able
to return to their homes by 18 November.
Libya: Displacement increases in conflict areas
(7 October 2011)
The number of people internally displaced by the recent fighting in north-west Libya has increased steadily. By 28 September it had reportedly reached
70,000, with many IDPs seeking shelter with host families but others forced to stay out in the open in desperate conditions. By 2 October, the ongoing deterioration of the situation in Sirte had led
about 10,000 people to leave the city, in vehicles packed with their belongings. At least a third of those displaced are reportedly staying in desert areas within a few kilometres of Sirte.
Meanwhile, 50,000 IDPs from tribes known to be loyal to Qadhafi, such as the Tawergha, Qawalish and Mesheshiya, have continued
to face discriminatory treatment. Local authorities in Misrata have reportedly restricted the provision of humanitarian assistance to certain groups of IDPs; they have also been subjected to arbitrary arrests, mistreated and denied the chance to return.
In many other conflict-affected parts of Libya the situation has gradually returned
to normal, and humanitarian responses have given way to longer-term recovery planning. In eastern Libya, local authorities estimated
in late September that the number of IDPs had fallen to around 24,000 from a July total of around 220,000
, with most of those still displaced originating from the towns of Brega, Bishr, Al-Alaghia and areas further west such as Ras Lanuf.
Libya: Concerns for IDPs and migrants rise as fighting continues
(23 September 2011)
On 16 September, three weeks after the entry of rebels into the capital Tripoli, the number of people internally displaced by the conflict in Libya was still unknown. Fighting was ongoing in Sirte, Sebha and Bani Walid; on 11 September, transitional government forces had given
the residents of Bani Walid two days to leave before the town came under attack, and many left to nearby towns or tented camps in the Souf Aljein Valley. The Misrata Military Council estimated
on 20 September that half the 130,000 population of Sirte had fled. ICRC reported
on 15 September that around 1,300 people, mainly from Ben Jawad and other towns along the Mediterranean coast west of Ras Lanuf, had also fled their homes and had been living in tents in the desert.
The situation of the 25,000 inhabitants of the city of Tawergha to the south of Misrata has raised concern, after they fled to Tripoli and its surroundings in fear of reprisals. When in mid-August the conflict reached the city, Tawergha was
completely deserted. Misrata rebels have arrested
dozens of male IDPs from Tawergha in Tripoli, and brought them back to Misrata for detention and interrogation.
Concerns have also been raised over the situation of migrant workers in Libya. Thousands of migrants, particularly Sub-Saharan Africans, are scattered around the capital and need
urgent assistance and protection, as existing racial tensions have been fuelled by the Qadhafi government’s alleged use of African mercenaries. 3,000 migrants have also sought
refuge at an IOM transit centre in the southern city of Sebha, where the security situation has rapidly deteriorated.
Libya: Number of IDPs falls in eastern areas
(15 July 2011)
Libya’s internal armed conflict has continued to cause displacement in both the east and west of the country. As of 7 July, UNHCR estimated
that around 218,000 people were internally displaced, including 69,000 in opposition-controlled areas, 49,000 around Tripoli and around 100,000 in the Nafusa Mountains. However, as access to these locations is still limited, these figures have not been confirmed and change frequently as populations move.
The number of IDPs has reportedly decreased, particularly in Eastern areas where the security situation has improved. According to an inter-agency mission, many of the 70 per cent of the population of Ajdabiya who had fled to Benghazi and elsewhere had returned
by 30 June, and only around 20 per cent of the population remained in displacement. Many returnee families were staying with relatives.
In opposition-controlled areas, most IDPs have reportedly received
support from host families and communities, while others live in spontaneous settlement sites, including in schools. Meanwhile, the presence of unexploded ordnance in conflict-affected areas has affected the protection of civilians and the ability of IDPs to return home safely.