Global Overview 2012: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Libya

Number of IDPsUp to 50,000
Percentage of total populationAbout 0.8%
Start of displacement situation2011
Peak number of IDPs (year)243,000 (2011)
New displacement in 2012Undetermined
Causes of displacementx International armed conflict
✓ Internal armed conflict
x Deliberate policy or practice of arbitrary displacement
✓ Communal violence
x Criminal violence
x Political violence
Human development index64

Most of the 243,000 people displaced in Libya in 2011 had returned to their homes by the end of 2012. Up to 50,000 IDPs remained in protracted displacement, the majority from the north-eastern town of Tawargha. Some live in rented apartments, but the majority remain in an estimated 132 displacement camps.

All parties to Libya's bitter civil war committed grave human rights violations. The enmity between the warring factions reached its climax in the summer of 2011 when Tawargha's 45,000 inhabitants fled in anticipation of an attack by militias from Misrata. Some 2,000 homes were subsequently destroyed in the assault, and the inhabitants of Misrata remain bitterly opposed to the return of the displaced Tawarghans. In the Nafusa Mountains, the Mshashiya people were the target of post-conflict reprisals, which led to the displacement of around 17,000 people. A similar pattern of enmity affected the town of Zintan and the pro-Qadhafi village of Awynya in 2012.

Libyan IDPs continue to face security risks such as extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and torture, according to a May 2012 report by the UN Human Rights Council commission of inquiry. Post-war reconstruction is well underway, but threats against people still living in displacement had not diminished by the end of the year. Sporadic armed clashes continue in some areas, and insecurity and instability remain a significant concern.

The UN Support Mission in Libya organised a conference on truth and reconciliation in December 2012 as part of efforts to allay communal tensions. The conference included the issue of IDPs, but the means of achieving durable solutions in the form of return or local integration are still to be established.


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