• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 1,422,000 People displaced [?]
  • 251 Fatalities reported [?]
  • 655,000 People in Need [?]



Libya’s instability and lawlessness, as well as its strategic location, have allowed smuggling and human trafficking networks, dominated by armed groups, to flourish. The country is a gateway for migrants and refugees hoping to cross to Europe via the Central Mediterranean route. However, most migrants arrive with the hope of finding work and remain in Libya for a longer period.?

As of July, Libya counts 665,000 migrants and refugees, mostly Sub-Saharan and North African nationals but also nationals from Asia and the Middle East.? The actual number may be higher as it is difficult to identify all refugees and migrants, some of whom are held captive by smugglers or in unofficial detention centres. Lack of income, insecurity and conflict, and the inability to meet food needs in home countries are reported as the main push factors to reach Libya.?

Migrants and refugees in Libya are among the poorest people in Libya and often lack enough financial resources to support their basic needs. Migrants and refugees are particularly vulnerable to extreme violence by Libyan security forces, militias, smuggling and trafficking networks, and criminal gangs. Many migrants face brutal conditions including severe abuse, forced labour, overcrowded detention centres, and kidnapping along the way.?

On 30 October 2019, a deal between Italy and Libya’s Tripoli based Government of National Accord (GNA), signed in 2017 and endorsed by the EU, was automatically renewed. The deal aims to restrict the number of migrants arriving in Italy by providing training and resources to the Libyan coastguard who stop migrant boats at sea, and by financing detention centres in Libya.?

Latest Developments


No recent significant humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

Key Priorities


Protection: Grave human rights violations by state and non-state actors including armed groups with links to either government. Violations include sexual violence, torture, unlawful killings, extortion, abduction and kidnapping, slavery, and arbitrary detention. ?

Health care: Over 250,000 migrants are in need of healthcare assistance. Refugees and migrants experience assorted access barriers including discrimination, difficulties paying medical expenses, lack of transportation, and distance to medical facilities. ?

Food security: Some 94,000 migrants are in need of food assistance. High food prices and insufficient financial means result in negative coping mechanisms such as skipping meals or going a whole day without food. Single households with children and migrants who have recently arrived in Libya appear to experience more difficulties accessing food. ?

Detention Centres


As of November 2019, over 4,500 refugees and migrants are reportedly held in official detention centres, managed by The Department for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM) under the GNA administration, but effectively controlled by armed groups. ?Numbers of people detained in clandestine detention centres are unknown but human rights groups estimate thousands are held in such facilities. Migrants and refugees intercepted at sea are often automatically transferred to detention centres. Conditions in detention centres are catastrophic. Severe overcrowding and a serious lack of food, drinking water, and access to WASH facilities raise health concerns and increase the risk of spread of infectious diseases. ?Children are generally placed in the same cells as adults. Migrants and refugees in detention centres experience torture, abuse, extortion, and forced labour. Assistance is limited and humanitarian access to the centres is restricted. Unofficial detention centres are inaccessible for aid workers. ?Since the start of the conflict in Tripoli in April 2019, migrants in detention centres have been targeted in the fighting. Detainees have been forcibly conscripted by armed groups. On the night of 2 July, two airstrikes hit Tajoura detention centre in the outskirts of Tripoli, killing 53 people, including six children, and wounding 130 more.