The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Libya organized a 3 day training for 20 Libyan officials in Tunisia on 26, 27 and 28 September 2016.
The training was an occasion to gather various local authorities involved in refugee protection, to discuss and exchange information about international refugee law, as well as the situation of refugees in Libya.
Promoting refugee law is an important aspect of UNCHR’s work because local authorities and civil society actors are the first ones on the ground protecting refugees », explains Samer Hadaddin, UNHCR Chief of Mission in Libya.
Participants included officials from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice and the Libyan Coast Guard. Discussions focused on Libya’s obligations towards refugees in Libya but also on the importance of international cooperation in a mixed-migration context that goes well beyond Libyan borders.
Funded by the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) of the European Commission, this training is part of a large capacity building programme developed by UNHCR in 2016. The objective is to raise awareness of the Libyan government and society on asylum, to improve the situation of refugees and asylum seekers in Libya.
There are an estimated 100,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Libya, of which some 38,000 are registered with UNHCR. All civilians in Libya are affected by the on-going fighting but refugees and asylum seekers are in a particularly vulnerable situation, being also at risk of arrest, detention and other forms of abuse.
In Libya, UNHCR identifies, registers and documents persons in need of international protection through its telephone hotlines, via its three Development Community Centers in Benghazi and Tripoli and through outreach visits conducted by partners. UNHCR also works with officials and civil society actors to reinforce capacities regarding international protection in a mixed migration context.