UN Refugee Mission Head Warns of Growing Displacement of People in Libya

Refugees and migrants wait to be rescued by members of Proactiva Open Arms NGO in the Mediterranean Sea, some 12 nautical miles north of Libya, on October 4, 2016. At least 1,800 migrants were rescued off the Libyan coast, the Italian coastguard announced, adding that similar operations were underway around …

Jean-Paul Cavalieri, head of the Libya mission for the UNHCR, has warned that deteriorating conditions across Libya are producing over 200,000 displaced persons.

Cavalieri made his comments to Italian media this week, saying that many Libyans have been forced to flee their homes due to the ongoing conflict in the country which will likely add to the estimated hundreds of thousands of migrants already in Libya, Il Giornale reports.

“There are over 217,000 IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) in the country: children, women, men in conditions of extreme risk. And we are unable to access all areas of Libya,” Cavalieri said.

“There are tens of thousands of people in arbitrary detention, fighting for daily survival. The Ministry of Interior can no longer guarantee food and water for everyone,” he added and claimed that some prisoners were even paying to remain in the prisons as they are convinced they will be first in line for emergency evacuations if they stay.

Estimates of exactly how many migrants are in Libya waiting for a chance to cross the Mediterranean into Europe are unclear, with Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj claiming that there are as many as 800,000 and said that just a mere 20,000 are located in various camps in the country.

Others, such as infamous German migrant transport NGO ship captain Carola Rackete, have claimed the number is closer to 500,000. Rackete, who was arrested for aiding illegal migration in Italy, demanded last year that the European Union open the gates to all 500,000 migrants and allow them to enter countries within the political bloc.

During the period in which populist anti-mass migration League leader Matteo Salvini served as Italian Interior Minister, the number of migrant landings decreased drastically.

However, since Salvini and the League left the government in September of 2019, the activities of migrant transport NGOs and the number of new arrivals has increased under the unpopular leftist coalition of the Five Star Movement and the Democratic Party.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com


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