Libya is now in its tenth year of instability and conflict following the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011. The number of internally displaced people (IDPs) has reached 278,177, with an additional 604,965 returnees looking to resettle after years of displacement. There is an estimated 1.3 million people affected by the crisis and more than 451,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance. Since October 2020, a fragile ceasefire has largely held in place. The country had been geographically split since 2014, with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) governing the west and the Libyan National Army (LNA) overseeing the east. In March 2021, the Government of National Unity (GNU) was formed, bringing together the two parties, and increasing hopes of political and social stability.
In addition to displaced Libyans, there are 574,000 migrants in Libya, including an estimated 4,152 refugees and migrants in detention centers. Years of conflict between various armed groups, political and economic insecurity and limited humanitarian access, exacerbated by the recent socioeconomic impacts of Covid-19, have resulted in a severe deepening of this neglected crisis.
People we helped in Libya in 2020
NRC began operations in Libya in 2017 and has continued to scale up its operational and programming presence supporting Libyan IDPs, returnees and host communities, as well as vulnerable migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
NRC implements education, ICLA, shelter, and WASH activities in Tripoli, Benghazi and Ajdabiya. We are scaling up our advocacy in an effort to improve the protection environment for the most vulnerable communities in Libya and to support them in accessing durable solutions.
NRC is the co-lead of the National Education and Shelter Working Sector Working Groups, and is an active member of the Libya INGO Forum. NRC has established offices and guesthouses in Tripoli and Benghazi.
NRC’s education response ensures that children and young people have access to quality, safe and inclusive education. The education environment in Libya requires emergency/transitional and resilience/sustainable support. NRC responds to both through its established learning centres, in government schools, and through remote learning modalities.
NRC also works with communities to provide community-based education services and provides training and support to volunteer teachers. Key activities supported by NRC Libya education teams include:
- Better Learning Programme (BLP)
- school rehabilitation/upgrades and Covid-19 enhancements
- teacher professional development
- Arabic Basic Literacy and Numeracy (BLN) non-formal education classes
- non-formal catch-up classes for non-Libyan children and youth
- adolescent girls clubs and adolescent boys clubs
- parent-teacher associations (PTAs)
- outreach and community awareness activities
- sector coordination and capacity building
- the establishment of a community centre in Tripoli and in Ajdabiya
NRC Libya education teams are also rolling out youth programming to vulnerable Libyans and non-Libyans. Trainings focusing on life and professional skills will be facilitated, allowing youth to find work or start their own business. NRC will support business grow through on-the-job mentoring and trainings, and in-kind or cash assistance.
Education activities have continued during the Covid-19 pandemic, with classes and learning support being provided over WhatsApp, student kits being distributed and registration of students taking place.
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
NRC supports vulnerable displacement and conflict-affected communities to establish legal identity, including obtaining legal civil documentation (LCD), and claim their housing, land and property (HLP) rights. This is done through awareness raising on legal protection needs by providing information at the community level. Through mobile group information sessions (GIS), NRC raises awareness on LCD and HLP rights, procedural requirements and how to exercise them. NRC is also providing GIS to refugees and asylum seekers on relevant topics including residency, work rights, tenancy and civil documentation that provide specific information on available legal avenues.
Furthermore, NRC provides populations of concern with direct legal assistance and representation before formal courts, administrative bodies, or through collaborative dispute resolution mechanisms. NRC also provides technical assistance and capacity building to duty-bearers, customary justice actors and displaced community leaders on property rights, protection against eviction, property restitution and compensation.
Over the next year, NRC will also provide HLP support to NRC shelter teams and the shelter sector at large by conducting HLP due diligence for shelter beneficiaries, training NRC shelter teams in HLP and security of tenure issues. This will help ensure that mitigation measures are in place for not doing harm, including reducing the risk of eviction and increasing beneficiary protection against exclusion from compensation schemes. NRC is now the main focal point in Tripoli and Benghazi for IDP, host community, or returnee people in need of legal aid.
When the courts and civil registries closed in March 2020 due to Covid-19, NRC put together a guidance document to provide advice to clients on these restrictions and how they can ensure that they preserve the evidence needed to register a life event at a later date once judicial and administrative bodies re-open. Legal counselling also continued over the phone.
Shelter and settlements
NRC Libya’s integrated shelter and WASH programme aims at promoting the right to access safe, protective and adequate housing, basic community infrastructure and facilities for IDP, returnee and affected populations residing in urban settings and IDP settlements. Shelter is essential for people to live safely and securely, while a lack of adequate shelter in many areas features among the key obstacles to sustainable return across Libya.
During emergencies or following new displacements, our team seeks to address basic and immediate needs of Libyan and non-Libyan communities through the provision of core relief and basic household items, hygiene kits and cash assistance. We also work in urban settings and informal settlements where vulnerable families are supported with shelter repairs and improvements, and with community level projects such as rehabilitating water/sewage networks, medical centres, garbage removal, and communal lighting systems.
We advocate for improved shelter accessibility for people with special needs, and for increased security of tenure, operating in the same areas as the ICLA team to maximise the impact of this programme and to fulfill our commitment to integrated programming.
Shelter and WASH activities have remained a priority during the Covid-19 outbreak, with 3,000 IDP households being reached with hygiene kits to mitigate the spread of the disease.
NRC provides emergency multi-purpose cash assistance to vulnerable Libyan IDPs and non-Libyan conflict-affected communities, with the aim of addressing immediate urgent and protection needs. The cash assistance is provided through pre-loaded gift cards that allow direct purchase of commodities from more than 3,000 selling points in Libya. Through this approach NRC reduces negative coping mechanisms by increasing agency and self-protection assistance by facilitating access to basic needs.
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)
- United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR)
- Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
- United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
- Education Cannot Wait (ECW)
- Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA)
- European Union Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa
- Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC)
About NRC in Libya
More migrants die trying to cross Mediterranean
Statement by the Norwegian Refugee Council's country director in Libya, Dax Roque, on the latest tragedy of migrants dying in the Mediterranean.