Libya is now in its ninth year of instability and conflict following the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011. The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has reached 373,709, with an estimated 1.8 million people affected by the crisis and more than 890,000 people in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. Around 200,000 people have been displaced since the conﬂict reignited in April 2019 between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA). In addition to displaced Libyans, there are 653,800 migrants in Libya, including an estimated 3,200 refugees and migrants in detention centers. Years of endless conflict between various armed groups, political and economic insecurity and limited humanitarian access have resulted in a severe deepening of this neglected crisis.
To date, a January 2020 commitment to de-escalate by the warring parties has been short-lived. To a large extent, the reduction in military activities was simply used to strengthen military positions and prepare for intensified conflict. The UN Support Mission in Libya has recorded at least 131 civilian casualties (64 deaths and 67 injuries) during the first quarter of 2020, which is an increase of 45 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.
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 non-Libyan communities.
NRC implements education, shelter, ICLA and WASH activities in Tripoli and Benghazi. It is the co-lead of the National Education and Shelter Working Sector Working Groups, and is also a 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 and in government schools.
NRC also works with communities to provide community-based education services, and provides training and support to volunteer teachers. Key activities supported by the NRC Libya education teams include:
- Better Learning Programme (BLP)
- School rehabilitation/upgrades
- 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 (AGCs)
- Parent-teacher associations (PTAs)
- Outreach and community awareness activities
- Sector coordination and capacity building
- Establishment of a community centre in Tripoli
Education activities have continued during the Covid-19 outbreak, with classes and learning support being provided through 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 provides 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 and 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 shelter strategy focuses on ensuring dignified living conditions for displacement- and conflicted-affected communities in urban settings and informal settlements. This is achieved through the rehabilitation of damaged houses in urban settings and the improvement of the shelter and WASH conditions of vulnerable IDPs living in informal 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. Currently NRC provides shelter solutions to conflicted-affected communities in Benghazi.
NRC provides shelter assistance to conflict-affected populations including returnees, IDPs and other vulnerable groups in urban settings. NRC targets the most vulnerable people in under-served areas.
As proof of ownership is an essential element of the rehabilitation and upgrade modalities, NRC ICLA and shelter teams operate in the same areas to maximise the impact of this programme and in line with NRC’s commitment to integrated programming. NRC assistance to beneficiaries with security of tenure complements the work carried out by NRC ICLA teams regarding access to civil documentation.
NRC also works in informal settlements where vulnerable families are supported with shelter repairs and improvements, and larger informal settlements are supported with garbage removal, garbage bins distribution and communal lighting systems. NRC also advocates for improved shelter accessibility for people with special needs.
Shelter 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 one-off multi-purpose cash assistance (MPCA) to vulnerable Libyan IDP and non-Libyan conflict affected communities in and around Tripoli. NRC provided MPCA through pre-loaded cash cards reaching 408 individuals in 2019. Based on this successful pilot project, NRC is continuing its cash programming in 2020.
- 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)