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Mixed Migration Trends in Libya: Changing Dynamics and Protection Challenges. Evolution of the Journey and Situation of Refugees and Migrants in Southern Libya

Libya has become the preferred jumping-off point for mixed migration movement towards Europe. Those travelling to Libya include refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants, unaccompanied
minors, persons displaced as a result of climate change, victims of trafficking and stranded migrants among others. These people travel along the same routes and resort to the services of the same smugglers to help them cross Libya. 

Traffickers and smugglers continue to capitalise on Libya’s fractured society and political strife for profit. Meanwhile the European community continues to grapple with the problem of mixed migration. It is a tragedy that against all odds and on a monthly basis, hundreds of men, women and children lose their lives crossing the Mediterranean on small boats and dinghies. In 2017 so far alone, more than 1,200 people have died trying to reach Europe. 

This report sheds light on the constantly changing flow of refugees and migrants into Libya and identifies their principal vulnerabilities and needs. It builds on previous studies that indicate that of the three main routes to Europe used by refugees and migrants - the Western Mediterranean Route, the Central Mediterranean Route and the Eastern Mediterranean Route – Libya has become the preferred gateway for irregular movement, despite also being the deadliest.

UNHCR is committed to working to expand protection space in Libya for those moving as part of mixed flows. This study and others to come will go a long way to providing vital information to decision makers on mixed-migration and the situation of persons of concern (refugees and asylum-seekers) and guide UNHCR’s activities as part of enhanced engagement in the country. 

Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
Organization(s): 
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Original Publication Date: 
03 Jul 2017
Document type: 
Analysis Report
Location(s): 
Libya