Libya: UN organisation's expulsion revoked

Tripoli, 26 June (AKI) - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said late Friday that the Libyan government is allowing it to resume operations almost three weeks after the north African country said it was expelling the agency without offering an explanation.

The relief organisation however said it will not be permitted to expand its operations.

"While it is able to re-start work, its operations will be restricted to only its current caseload in a country that is a key transit point for migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East," Geneva-based UNHCR said late Friday in a written statement.

Libya on 8 June said it would expel the UNHCR. Though it didn't give reasons for the move, in recent days authorities have accused the organisation's staff of serious misconduct, including the taking of bribes and sexual favours in exchange for the granting of refugee status to immigrants, accusations UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards called "unsubstantiated."

The Libyan foreign ministry said in a Thursday statement that it had received several complaints of "abuse" carried out by the UNHCR's representative, who was not named, "contrary to the humanitarian activity of the organisation."

Libya has not signed the 1951 convention on refugees and does not have a domestic asylum system so the UNHCR has been helping the authorities determine whether people arriving are refugees or other migrants.

The UNHCR has registered about 9,000 refugees in Libya, and there are 3,700 asylum seekers.


print          send



Contact us