Libya Country Profile
Libya is located in the Maghreb region in North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west and Tunisia to the northwest. Libya has a population of 6 million and is the fourth largest country in Africa. The country's official religion is Islam, with 96.6% of the Libyan population being Sunni Muslims.
Libya became independent as a kingdom in 1951, but a military coup in 1969 installed Muammar Gaddafi in power until he was overthrown and killed in the 2011 Libyan Civil War.
Why are people fleeing Libya?
Libya is in turmoil, facing economic collapse, political instability, and ongoing conflict between violent militias.
Following the 2011 revolution, which ended the 42-year regime of Muammar Gaddafi, civil war erupted in 2014. The oil-rich North African nation has since been engulfed in economic chaos, general lawlessness, with violent militias vying for power. Despite international pressure, political reconciliation between rival governments in the east and west remains a distant prospect.
Over 700,000 migrants are currently in Libya. While some do have legal status and have travelled to Libya to work there, others are undocumented and live in the shadows. Many continue to risk their lives with smugglers to try get to Europe. Often, they are pulled back by Libyan coast guards to Libya where they are arrested and detained.
The civilian population is caught in the middle. Basic public services — health care, education, electricity, banking — are degraded or absent, and the threat of violence is constant.
Violence and economic decline in Libya have displaced more than 500,000 people and disrupted all facets of life: health care, public utilities, jobs, education, financial services, social safety nets. Restoring primary healthcare services is the most pressing need, as more than 1 million people lack access. Many health facilities across the country are either partially or completely non-functional due to critical shortages of healthcare workers, skilled specialists, medicines and medical supplies.
Migrants and refugees in Libya are also vulnerable. They are often forced to live in the shadows with no access to the services they need and are at risk of exploitation.
Mo from Libya published:1/1/2020