UNHCR says over 46,000 refugees, asylum seekers registered in Libya

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TRIPOLI, LIBYA - FEBRUARY 14: A group of deportee illegal immigrants wait before boarding to a plane, heading to Nigeria during their deportation at Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli, Libya on February 14, 2017. Approximately 171 Nigerian illegal immigrants are deported after the official process. (Photo by Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TRIPOLI, LIBYA – FEBRUARY 14: A group of deportee illegal immigrants wait before boarding to a plane, heading to Nigeria during their deportation at Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli, Libya on February 14, 2017. Approximately 171 Nigerian illegal immigrants are deported after the official process. (Photo by Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The United Nations Higher Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday said that there are 46,395 registered refugees and asylum seekers in Libya.

UNHCR said it conducted 1,224 monitoring visits during 2019 to detention centers across Libya where thousands of refugees are held.

Thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly Africans, chose to cross the Mediterranean from Libya towards Europe.

On Thursday, UNHCR expressed concern for the safety of refugees and asylum seekers at the Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in the capital Tripoli, following reports of shelling close to the site.

The eastern-based Libyan army has been launching a military offensive since early April 2019 in around Tripoli, trying to take over the city and overthrow the rival UN-backed government.

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