Libya kicks out UN refugee workers
Libya is throwing the Geneva-based UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) out of the country, leaving asylum seekers and refugees in a void.
The UNHCR protested the move vehemently. Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the organisation, said Libyan authorities informed them on Wednesday last week that the offices would be closed.
“We were given no reason whatsoever,” she said. “We hope this measure is only temporary because it puts all of our programmes in question.”
Libya is a major refugee camp and conduit for sub-Saharan asylum seekers attempting to reach Europe and Switzerland. About one million foreigners live largely illegally in the North African country.
Libya has no asylum system and the UNHCR is the only organisation in place that can determine the status of refugees there.
The agency has been in the country since 1991 and employs 26 people who, along with partner agencies, provide refugees with medical help, shelter and legal advice.
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