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Libya: Unhcr, another 150 refugees relocated to a safer centre, as threatened by fights

Yesterday, Unhcr, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, relocated another 150 refugees from the detention centre of Abu Selim, south of Tripoli, to its Gathering and Departure Facility (Gdf), in the centre of Libya’s capital, safe from the hostilities. The detention centre of Abu Selim is one of the many facilities that have been affected by Libya’s hostilities since the outset of the fights, nearly two weeks ago. The refugees told Unhcr they are scared and shocked by the riots that are taking place about 10 km away and fear for their lives. Despite the intention to relocate a higher number of refugees, the Unhcr staff had to give up, because of the quick escalation of fights in the area. It will try to implement this life-saving solution as soon as the local conditions allow. “Sheltering these people is a race against the clock. The conflict and the worsening of the security level are hindering all our efforts”, stated Lucie Gagne, deputy chief of mission at Unhcr in Libya. “Solutions must be urgently found for the people who are held up in Libya, including humanitarian evacuations to bring the most vulnerable people out of the country”. There were lots of women and children among the refugees that were relocated yesterday. They were relocated with the support of the International Medical Corps, which is a partner of Unhcr, and Libya’s Ministry of Interiors. This is the second time Unhcr organises a relocation of people since the conflict in Libya has got worse. Last week, over 150 refugees were relocated from the detention centre of Ain Zara, also south of Tripoli, so that the total number of refugees sheltered there amounts to over 400. After yesterday’s relocation, there are over 2,700 refugees and migrants still detained and held in areas in which fights are still going on. In addition to the people who are still in Abu Selim, there are those in the other detention centres closer to the hostilities, including those of Qasr Bin Ghasheer, Al Sabaa and Tajoura. The current situation in the country still shows that Libya “is a dangerous place for refugees and migrants, and those among them who are rescued and saved at sea must not be brought back there”.

 

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