31 December 2013 |

Libya: Internal displacement in brief

As of December 2013


There were at least 59,400 IDPs in Libya as of the end of 2013, according to UN estimates. They were among more than 500,000 who fled their homes during the 2011 civil war, in which NATO played a pivotal role in the overthrow of the country’s former president, Muammar Qadhafi. Around 490,000 people are thought to have gone back to their places origin since 2011, but little is known about the nature or sustainability of their return.

Those still living in displacement fled threats and intimidation from anti-government militias that accused them of having supported Qadhafi. Two-thirds are from the Tawargha tribal group and have been unable to return because of ongoing threats of attack, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions and torture carried out by militias in the north-western port city of Misrata. Most of the others are from the Gwalish and Mshashiya tribes, which live in the Tamina and Kararim areas of the Nafusa mountains, also in the north-west of the country.

Most IDPs live in settlements around Tripoli and Benghazi, where they have little or no access to social, education or health services. The number of IDPs was unchanged during 2013.

The interim government has failed to rein in militias that kidnapped or killed more than 80 officials, including the prime minister, Ali Zeidan, during the year. The absence of a national reconciliation process continues to pose an obstacle to peace and the return of the country’s remaining IDPs.

The creation at the Prime Minister’s level of a UN supported IDP agency in February 2013 was a step in the right direction. However, Libya’s interim government failure to rein in militias restricted its capacity to deliver effective response