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Summary of Recommendations “Conference on Displaced Persons in Libya”

March 08, 2017

This paper was presented at a Conference Titled: "Displaced persons in Libya ... Challenges and Solutions" January 4, 2017 Tripoli, Libya

Introduction

There is no doubt that the humanitarian situation of displaced persons has to come to an end as soon as possible through finding a radical solution to the problem. This radical solution will not be reached without solving the problem of armed conflicts in Libya and reaching a general and integrated reconciliation along with implementing transitional justice measures, repairing the damage, and stepping away from the feeling of revenge that has been prevailing after the end of the conflict in favour of one of the parties.

The humanitarian impulse has to be the main momentum to expedite the reconciliation process which many are awaiting. However, the reality today shows us that the political crisis seems to be far away from reaching a real reconciliation any time soon. In fact, political manoeuvring and military operations are still ongoing in the country. Until reaching a reconciliation agreement, the crisis of displaced persons could be dealt with from a humanitarian perspective. All relevant entities should agree, at least at the level of coordinating their work, in order to mitigate the conflict on displaced persons who are suffering a lot. The agreement stipulates that local organizations, which are not subject to political influence, such the Red Crescent and the National Scouting Organization of Libya, should be entrusted the task of humanitarian coordination. This would help coordinating humanitarian efforts. In this same context, international organizations have to place humanitarian efforts within their priorities for the year 2017 so that to avoid dispersing these efforts as the case in the past period.

 

In general, alleviating the humanitarian crisis now require taking the following measures:

Strategies for Solving the Issue of Counting Displaced Persons:

Government agencies play an important role in ensuring the success of counting internally displaced persons in Libya. We cannot put the whole load on international organizations and their local partners in this field. Adopting the process of counting the displaced persons while considering it a strategic project by the government will greatly contribute to the success of the process as a whole. Furthermore, a joint cooperation between local government institutions and international organizations will bring about concrete data of high accuracy and professionalism.

Without concerted efforts, we will not obtain satisfactory results. In fact, working individually and in isolation from each other did not bring about, until now, complete and accurate data. Furthermore, we will never have the full cooperation of displaced persons as long we do not ensure the protection of their personal data and not handing them to any other party whatsoever, unless for the benefit of displaced persons and following a sovereign decision only. Additionally, the repeated collection of data, as the case now during the counting processes in Libya, will bring about a sluggish relationship between the displaced and the researchers and thus a lack of cooperation of the displaced in providing data on a regular basis. Therefore, all the relevant organizations and governments in Libya have to: 

·        Examine the overall situation of displaced persons and respond to all their needs.

·        Focus on creating a national database that links the displaced persons with their area of resettlement as well as monitor their movements from one place to another.

·        All displaced person need to cooperate with all organizations working on collecting their data in the aim of providing them with assistance.

·        Displaced persons have to be responsible towards these organizations and report their departure to other area or in the case of changes in their social situation.

In fact, the counting process is a joint responsibility between several parties working for the sole objective of providing assistance and support to the internally displaced population and facilitating their everyday lives until relief is granted, and they return to their home town safe and sound.

Overall, we do not aim to create propaganda for any institutions. However, it is noteworthy to mention once again that in their statistics, international organizations depend primarily on the data provided to them by local organizations and municipal councils. The latter often have the desire to gain greater support either to cover the months during which international organizations do not provide support, or for material interest of some personalities which urge some parties to provide false data.[1]

Despite the political division in the country, the Bureau of Statistics and Census in Libya did not undergo division in its administration until now. Along with its specialities, the bureau could be the institution that brings together the rest of the local government and charitable institutions and the international organizations to train their staff and support them in order to provide accurate statistics on the conditions of displaced persons. Hence, it would be possible to decide on the right mechanisms for delivery, according to these numbers.

The census could follow more than one procedure to verify the data. Perhaps, relying later on the concerted efforts between other relevant entities such as the Libyan Relief Organization, Libyan Red Crescent, Libyan Scouts and international organizations in the process of aid distribution could establish a sense of more credibility and transparency [2]

Integrated Humanitarian Efforts:

By integrated humanitarian efforts, it means the distribution of tasks between local and international humanitarian organizations. It has been clear that the fields in which international organizations are providing support are identified and known in advance. Once the aid is regulated in accordance with exact numbers and based on a unified census upon which all local and international organizations base their work, it would be possible to distribute it in a more equitable way. Applying this system will enable local organizations to work on other humanitarian fields which do not fall within the same scope of work of international organizations, such as renting houses to displaced families or the provision of school supplies.

In addition to a unified counting system for all relevant institutions, applying this measure will require an archiving process and a continuous tracking. In fact, any irregularities in one of the relief operation could obstruct the rest of the aid provision procedure.

The Integrated Efforts of Various Government Entities:

Our current reality tells us that the existence of more than one government is a fact which we need to deal with beyond the humanitarian efforts. Facing the humanitarian crisis in Libya is not of less importance, for instance, than the efforts made to unite the National Oil Corporation (NOC). In fact, the humanitarian crisis does not exclude any displaced persons whether those settled in some village in the far east or west of the country. On this basis, the various parties could reach an agreement in order to provide assistance to displaced persons such as the distribution of efforts between social affairs offices affiliated to both governments of "Tripoli" and "Al-Baydha" and the exchange of information about the provided aid and needs in each area, along with imposing the control of an independent committee that functions beyond the boundaries of political division.

Procedures That Can be Taken to Facilitate the Return of Displaced Persons to their Homes:

1.     A real, comprehensive, and complete national reconciliation after what the conflict in Libya has brought about since 2011, in addition to the historical remnants that increased the intensity of this conflict.

2.     Dismantling and removing all remnants of war such as land-mines, unexploded ordnance, shrapnel and other remnants. Also, to locally train the necessary personnel to undertake this mission.

3.     Developing mechanisms which compensate affected people so that they rebuild their homes, and also serve to reconstruct public institutions that were destroyed. These mechanisms, which contribute to the reconstruction and compensation of victims, should operate under the control of real technical committees that have as a mission the evaluation of damage. The Auditing Bureau should also play a role in this process by directly controlling these mechanisms to prevent corruption in such an important humanitarian issue.



[1]                        Moad Abu Zamazim - Problems Facing the Return of Displaced Persons

[2]                        Mohamed Tantosh- Displaced in Libya – An overview.

 

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