Trapped in Danger
Libya remains fragmented by conflict and fighting continues in several parts of the country. The breakdown of law and order, the economic collapse and the existence of three governments has had a severe impact on the healthcare system.

Almost all the men, women and children who attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea have passed through Libya.

Teams who worked on search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean heard accounts of the alarming levels of violence and exploitation people experienced in Libya at the hands of security forces, militias, smuggling networks, and criminal gangs.

We run mobile clinics in migrant detention centres located in and around Tripoli. Medical complaints are mostly related to appalling conditions inside the dangerously overcrowded detention centres: lice, scabies and flees are rife and significant numbers of detainees suffer from nutritional deficiencies and the lack of safe drinking water.

MSF teams are currently responding to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Our activities in 2020 in Libya

Data and information from the International Activity Report 2020.

MSF in Libya in 2020 In 2020, refugees, asylum seekers and migrants trapped in war-torn Libya were left even more vulnerable as armed conflict escalated and COVID-19 spread across the country.
Map of MSF activities in 2020 in Libya

Although some detention centres closed in 2020, thousands of men, women and children remained held in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions with little access to healthcare, insufficient food and drinking water, and no possibility of physical distancing. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continued to provide medical and mental healthcare in detention centres in Tripoli, Khoms, Zliten, Zuwara and Zintan. Our teams also worked to improve access to water and other basic services, reinforce COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures and refer the most vulnerable cases to protection agencies.

In February, a 26-year-old Eritrean man lost his life when a fire broke out in the overcrowded Dhar El-Jebel detention centre in Zintan. We offered psychological support to survivors of the fire and distributed basic necessities to replace items they had lost, while reiterating our call for the end of arbitrary detention of migrants and refugees in Libya.

The vast majority of the estimated 650,000 migrants currently in Libya live on the streets, exposed to arbitrary arrest and detention, human trafficking, exploitation and severe violence. Most of those detained are in clandestine prisons and warehouses run by people smugglers rather than official centres. In Bani Walid, our teams offered general healthcare and medical referrals to refugees and migrants who had escaped from captivity, and to victims of torture and trafficking.

Throughout 2020, refugees and migrants were subjected to numerous violent attacks; for example, at disembarkation points where the Libyan coastguard forcibly returns those who try to flee. On 28 July, our teams responded with medical and psychological care after a shooting at a disembarkation site in Khoms that left three teenagers dead.

Tuberculosis (TB) care is another focus of our activities in Libya. Our teams work in three TB facilities: two in Tripoli and one in Misrata, a 17-bed clinic that we opened in March.

 

in 2020
 
Detention Centres - Tripoli, Libya
Libya

Ongoing violence against detained migrants forces MSF to suspend Tripoli detention centre activities

Press Release 22 Jun 2021
 
Rotation 1 Rescue 6
Mediterranean migration

Witnessing harrowing crossings onboard the Geo Barents

Voices from the Field 18 Jun 2021
 
Detention Centres - Tripoli, Libya
Libya

Libya: One dead and two injured in shooting in Tripoli detention centre

Press Release 9 Apr 2021
 
Sea Watch 4 - Open Arms
Mediterranean migration

Carnage in the Mediterranean is the direct result of European state policies

Press Release 13 Nov 2020
 
Rotation01_Rescue03
Mediterranean migration

Five things to know about the Mediterranean search and rescue crisis

Project Update 16 Oct 2020
 
Trapped in Danger
Libya

Libya: “They were shot and killed as they fled arbitrary detention”

Project Update 31 Jul 2020
 
Libya: Crisis Within a Crisis
Photo Story

Conflict and COVID-19 adds up to a crisis within a crisis in Libya

2 Jun 2020
Photo Story
 
Trapped in Danger
Libya

Arbitrary detention in Libya must end as asylum seeker dies in detention centre fire

Press Release 2 Mar 2020
 
Ocean Viking - Rotation 5
Mediterranean migration

Refugees trapped in Libya: Nowhere to go but the sea

Voices from the Field 15 Jan 2020