ICMC responds to emergency situation in Libya, urgently deploying protection experts to Egypt and Tunisia
GENEVA, 17 March 2011—Amid urgent calls for the protection of those fleeing violence in Libya, ICMC bolsters key partnerships and rapidly deploys six refugee protection experts to UNHCR emergency resettlement operations in Egypt and Tunisia, assisting efforts to find solutions for the increasing number of refugees in the region.
“The speed and scale with which the humanitarian crisis has unfolded has proven extremely challenging to the mechanisms in place in the region for dealing with the large number of people now needing protection”, explains Linda Besharaty, ICMC Deployment Scheme Coordinator. “Fortunately, we are able to provide a rapid, on-the-ground response to the needs of these refugees and other displaced people through the UNHCR-ICMC Deployment Scheme.”
ICMC deployees now arriving in Cairo and Tunis will undertake refugee status determination assessments, as well as conduct interviews to identify those refugees who are most vulnerable and who may have little or no prospect for local integration or voluntary repatriation. For these individuals and their families, resettlement to a safe third country may be their only durable protection solution, especially in the case of children, at-risk women, those with serious medical concerns, the elderly and people facing immediate legal or physical protection needs.
The deployment of additional experts to this emergency situation will help increase the number of refugees whose cases can be submitted for resettlement, thereby speeding up the resettlement process. Such support will help to ensure better protection for new arrivals, prevent Egypt and Tunisia’s resettlement operations from becoming overwhelmed and help improve the protection environment for those for whom there is a solution within the region.
There are an estimated 8,000 refugees and some 3,000 asylum-seekers who have fled, or may be expected to flee, Libya as a result of the violence. In neighboring Egypt, a further 40,000 refugees who escaped protracted situations in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan are already being hosted; many of whom are also anticipated to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of ICMC deployees.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has appealed to resettlement countries to increase the number of 2011 resettlement places available for refugees currently residing in Egypt and Tunisia, including those who had previously sought refuge in Libya.
In addition to providing critical support in North Africa, ICMC continues to engage closely with non-governmental organization (NGO) partners in Greece, Malta, Italy and Spain under the DRIVE project (Differentiation for Refugee Identification and Vulnerability Evaluation), as part of critical efforts to strengthen response to influxes of migrants and asylum seekers arriving by boat. Amid joint efforts to build a regional Mediterranean network for practical cooperation amongst States, international organizations and NGOs specific to boat arrivals, many of the project partners, including the Italian Refugee Council (CIR), Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Malta and Save the Children Italy, have been directly responding to the protection needs of people fleeing Libya since the violence first began.
Note to Editors
ICMC manages a global roster of more than 300 experienced resettlement specialists and 5 sub-rosters for experts in the following areas: refugee children/Best Interest Determinations, group resettlement, psychosocial support, refugee status determination and refugee women and gender issues. ICMC deployees are available for immediate deployment to emergency situations as well as to areas where there is a protracted refugee caseload.
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Press release: ICMC responds to emergency situation in Libya, urgently deploying protection experts to Egypt and Tunisia (377.63 KB)