UNHCR Tunisia Operational Update - 31 July 2019 - The Libyan Report

UNHCR Tunisia Operational Update - 31 July 2019

Key figures:

2,287

Persons of Concern to UNHCR

957

Newly registered asylum- seekers and refugees since Jan 2019 (following profiling)

164

New arrivals in July (land and sea) - mixed populations movements

1,180

New arrivals in 2019 (land, sea and air) - mixed populations movements

Funding

USD 7.0 M required for 2019 operations

Highlights

During the month of July, 164 third-country nationals reached Tunisia from Libya crossing by land (24) or rescued/intercepted at sea (140). Among the persons rescued/intercepted, 42 individuals expressed their intention to seek asylum in Tunisia and were accommodated in the Sfax urban area. UNHCR and partners proceeded with counselling and profiling; and provided food, non-food items and healthcare assistance. Most of the individuals are nationals from Sudan and Bangladesh and have spent between one to two years in Libya, often in detention, where they experienced or witnessed violence and abuse. Besides the rescued persons, another 82 persons lost their lives at sea.

Capacity building – Thirty-seven members of security forces working in Sfax and in Djerba airports were briefed on principles of international protection of refugees as part of the regular training programme organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on protection and human rights.

Protection – On 9 July, four individuals detained in Tunis were released to UNHCR after they expressed their intention to seek asylum in Tunisia. Since the beginning of the year, six other similar cases were addressed, also as a result of a now established practice with Immigration Agents.

Between 17 and 24 July, UNHCR and partner staff received training on fundamentals of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS), including Psychological First Aid (PFA), in order to mainstream PSS in protection activities. This will allow staff to provide more targeted responses to address the needs of refugees and asylum seekers arriving from Libya.

Community-based protection – UNHCR and partners held discussions with 75 refugees and asylum-seekers hosted in the two shelters of Zarzis, during which a number of critical issues were identified. These included: challenges in accessing healthcare services, the mental health conditions of youth and minors in the shelter and the need of psychosocial support; concerns about discrimination from the host community, delay in RSD interviews, limited financial assistance and livelihood opportunities. While immediate actions have been initiated, representatives from refugees and asylum-seeker groups, as well as government, partners and UNHCR have set up a coordination platform to address those concerns in a more comprehensive and coordinated manner. Coordination structures are also being established for each of the three shelters, with counselling sessions to be carried out with specific groups such as for women and youth. source