Cite this

Modern Libya’s History Term Paper

Libya is an African country located on the northern part of the continent bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It covers about 1,760,000 square kilometers most of which is desert and semi desert respectively. Libya gained its independence in September 1951 after being ruled by the British and the French administration for almost an entire decade.

Libya is one of the first country’s that attained its independence through the United Nations. The type of government rule is defined as an Islamic Arabic socialist state. After its independence, it became a federal monarchy under the rule of King Mohammed Idris and later in 1953 it teamed up with other Arab states League.

In 1969 Gaddafi overthrew King Mohammed Idris through the help of a movement he had formed in 1963 known as the Free Officer’s Movement a group that comprised of the revolutionized army officers. Since then, the country has been under the leadership of Muammar Gaddafi summing up to over 40 years in the throne.

The population of the country is said to be to about 6,200,000 people, with Arabs constituting to the greater percentage of about 90% of the country’s population. This however is further calculated to 50 persons per square kilometers, the small population seems to cause the small population to large land area situation.

Most people in Libya live along the coastal shores and more than half of this population is said to be mainly concentrated in the country’s largest cities Tripoli and Benghazi. The common religious practice among the people of Libya is Islam which is mainly composed of the Sunnis. Their official language is Arabic however languages like English and Italian are also used.

The capital city of Libya is Tripoli where the country’s largest port is situated. The city’s population is approximated to total to about 1.7 million people. Subsequently, 30 % of the population is under the age of 15 with a significant number of the people being literate about 82% of the total population.

In terms of economic status, Libya is a rich African oil state reserving about 43 barrels and 1.48 trillion cubic meters respectively besides oil it also a major producer of natural gas. Oil is the country’s economic backbone as it accounts to approximately 95 % of the states revenues.

The revenues collected from the oil sector amounts to one-quarter of the state gross domestic profit (GDP). After the UN sanctions were lifted in 2003, Libya’s effort to make progress in economic reforms picked up as this was one way of ensuring that the campaigns to reintegrate the country to international fold was successful. Due to its desert condition not much of agriculture is conducted in the country due to poor soils and for this reason, 75% of its imports are food products.

Despite its rich oil and being among the highest African country earning income per capita, the country has over the years faced challenges in the implementation of social economic policies which were imposed in the late 1080s. The income flow is also however not felt by the common citizens of the society. This has led to the recent unrest sweeping across the country.

The beginning of the year 2011 saw several Arab states sort to revolutionize their governments after being in oppressive rulings for a long time.

Libya is among these states seeking new reformed governments after being inspired by the protests that took place in Tunisia as they tried to get their dictatorial president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, out of power for his brutal administrative strategies and in Egypt a country that saw Hosni Mubarak rule for the last 30 years among other several other states.

The effect of the war in Libya is greatly felt by the immigrants who are said to have migrated from different countries since 1970s after the discovery of oil and hydrocarbons reserves in the country. To confirm this, a fact finding research has confirmed that due to the current war situation in Libya, more than half a million (approximately 531,439) have fled from the country.

The immigration flow to Libya can be traced as far back as the 1960s after oil and hydrocarbons reserves were discovered. A large number of the immigrants particularly from the neighboring countries like Egypt and Tunisia sort for better economic opportunities thus they continued to flock in Libya since the country lacked structural indigenous manpower.

During this time the country experienced a rise in oil revenues and an ambition to establish successful economic and social programs was the country’s main goal. Prior to this, the Sahel region was experiencing severe drought phases and brutal violence which led to more people especially from Niger, Tuaregs and the Tubu ended up migrating into Libya to seek refuge increasing the number of refugee migration flow.

Although at some point the Libyan government experienced some change in the composition of inward flow, in 1992 Gaddafi started to pursue an open door policy towards the nationals from the sub-Saharan countries due to a fall out from a relationship the Libyans had with the UN embargo and more immigrants flocked the Libyan boarder as they entered the country.

In 2007 the open door policy was changed and Libya imposed visa recognition for all people both Arabs and Africans. During this change, concerns were also highlighted about stay and labor turning an unknown number of immigrants into irregulars overnight. This is also the time when expulsion of immigrants took place by the Libyan government purposely to improve and adjust labor migrations to the Libyan market and to also please the European embargo.

It was very clear among the European countries if Libya was willing to strengthen its position with the important European countries than they had to actively involve themselves in a concerted migration control. Hence the efforts to fight against illegal migration was encouraged through both land and sea surveillance with the help of the European Union especially Italy as they worked with the international organization for migration.

The official static passed during the explosion was 4000 in 2000 as the number continued to increase in the following years in 2003- a total of 43,00 was recorded, 20004 54,000 in 2005 8400 in 2006 64,330. By the end of 2007 most of them had been expelled.

The living conditions for most migrants and refugees was very poor leading to many seeking to migrate further into Malta and the Italian Isle of Lampedusa.

After Tunisia triumph victory over their dictatorial president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak failed reign, migrants and refugees started leaving Libya in organized small groups as they flee the violence in Libya to settle back to their country of origin in Egypt and Tunisia. These migrants do not only consist of people from other different countries who seek refuge once in Libya but also the Libyans themselves.

From the previous obtained records the outward migration flow in Libya has never recorded any significant flow until recently when the movements from Libya war zone areas into Egyptian and Tunisian countries has increased as compared to any other countries borders like in Algeria.

Libyan culture

The cultural background of the Libyan people can be described through their way of living. The Libyans are considered to be Muslims (Arabs) since the biggest percentage of the Libyan population is Muslim. Among these people are minority numbers of the Greeks, Maltese and the Italians. Approximately 90% of the population is a mixture of the Berber and Arab ancestry.

The Libyan people believe that the Berber were the ones who came first and settled in Libya way long before the arrival of the Arabs (Drik 206).

Although the berber people form the largest group of people in the Libyan society, they are considered to be the less distinguished minority group in thje society. Most people in Libya live along the coastal shores and more than half of this population is said to be mainly concentrated in the country’s largest cities Tripoli and Benghazi.


Libyan people depend on imported food products since the country is unable to produce enough food to sustain its population due to the unfavorable climatic conditions and the poor state of the land present. In Libya food is considered to the most important activities carried out in a family. There is a common saying around Libya that states that “one must eat well”. Food reflects the kind of life style led by many peasants and nomads in the country.

How the Libyan cook their foods is always regarded to be similar in all parts of the country from the rural areas to the urban centers it is also not any different in the sedentary or nomadic lifestyles. The Libyan cuisines adopt some of their cooking recopies from the Italian people and these mixes of Arabic, Mediterranean and Italian recipes present very sumptuous meals.

Libyan bazin with fish and potatoes.

Libyan bazin with fish & potatoes

In any given food session what is common includes pasta and macaroni which also is typical in the Italian food culture. The main staple dish in Libya is bazin a traditional type of dish that is made from a type of wheat flour that they refer to semolina.

The preparation of this kind of food entails sprinkling cooking oil on the flour and mixing it with water, and then the dough is formed into rounded smooth domes and can be served with different sauces of meat and vegetables. The most popular type of meat cooked around is mutton meat although meat is consumed in minimal rates.

The Libyans have an adequate supply of vegetables grains and fruits especially those living around the coastline while the nomadic pastoralists have an abundant amount of milk, and dates including a few grains most of the time. It is customary to end a meal with three glasses of green tea as it is an old ritual among the Libyan people.

Division of labor

After the discovery of the oil and hydrocarbon reserves in the 1960s, Libya’s increase in prosperity brought about change in how people were working especially in large-scale labor sector. Immediately people working in the agriculture sector diminished in numbers as many people opted to work in the clerical sports recreation and oil transportation sectors.

The existence off the oil reserves brought about change in the structuring of the occupational and residential sectors. In the 1960s, the government had a planned strategy to usher in a period of rural prosperity in Libyans country side. The plan resulted to too many families living in nomadic lifestyles to abandon their way of life and became sedentary in turn to take advantage of the steady wage employment.

Gender roles and status

In 1969, the Libyan constitution granted the women total equality according to the constitution Proclamation. Clearly the constitution prohibits any discrimination that is based on race, sex, disability, language, social status, religion or any difference whatsoever that may be present among the individuals (Blundy & Lycett 197).

Although there is evidence of a legal provision that entitled women to have equal rights as men, the traditional practices overshadowed this provisions and discrimination against the women continues to be experienced as women are up to date being denied freedom to family and civil rights. The government does not impose these prohibitions hence the women continue to suffer the same discrimination experiences are being felt by the minority tribes in the country.

A common practice among the Libyan people in terms of traditional practices includes purdah (the norm of secluding and veiling women). These veiled women can be spotted in the markets usually together in small groups and the company of kinsmen. Once a woman reaches puberty, then one is secluded and she is obligated to appear in the public while veiled and this practice continues on until one reaches menopause.

Efforts to drive toward female liberation, can be evidently presented through the opening of public space to women, which in many cases may be revoked at any time by either household male sanction or the national ruling. During his reign, Col Qaddafi set up a military institute specifically for females.

He also made his visitation to the institute on random occasions. Besides the institute, Gaddafi revolutionary government ensured that developmental plans all contributed to creating new opportunities that would enable women secure employment opportunities. There are also different occasions when he was seen being accompanied by female bodyguards in international meetings.

Just like many people view women as being perfect nurtures, the Libyan president Gaddafi also claimed that for a fact, the women and men indeed were created biologically different and he also commented that women were best suited for the role of nurturing and bringing up a happy family.

Despite women not having an equal status with men, the advent of oil has helped them make notable social progress. several observers blame the oppressive traditional practices and customs for several issues that include lack of self-confidence even for the women who have a strong educational background.

These women usually lack social awareness and during a social interaction with men they happen to involve themselves in a limited degree of participation with them.

Marriage family and kinship

A basic family setting in the Libyan culture reckons kinship whereby the family circle ties are as a result of blood ties that exists between men. A basic family structure in Libyan culture consist of man, wife, married sons with their wife and children unmarried sons and daughters including other relatives with unfortunate circumstances like divorced sisters or widowed mother. Once the head of the household or the father dies, all sons are obligated to form their own homes and start the circle once again.

Each person is believed to at one point of their life get married once they reach the required time and it is at this point when one acquires the adult status especially to men. Among the Arab people the rule of “first right” is very significant hence the existing decent groups or families ensure that the male first cousin has to relinquish his right to a girl before she is allowed to engage with a distant spouse socially.

Decent groups view arrangements of marriages through “first right” very important. These kinds of marriages constitute to about 20% of the total number of marriages conducted in the country. With the presence of this kind of marriage, a second set of social relationship is created bringing together two decent groups. The structure becomes complex as there are no restrictions people have the freedom to arrange marriages within the group but out of the rage of siblings but in the current generation with an effort to reduce endogamy.

The people of Libya believe that marriages can be used to bind groups to form alliances because once these different people come together then the off springs will be born in a successful union from entirely different groups. Any man expecting to marry a girl has to pay bride price to the bride’s family. Families should note that the bride price rate varies according to degree of relationship between the families the distant the relationship the higher the bride price (Azema 156).


The level of literacy among men and women is highly significant 82% of the population is considered literate. The country is very cautious about education for its people that why they have developed very strong and effective education systems for both primary and secondary education.

A record of about 1245000 students had enrolled in primary and secondary schools respectively by the end of mid 1980s. These numbers continued to increase over the years as the government increased the number of classrooms and the number of teachers present. There is a government library in Tripoli and a public one in Bangazi

Social structures

There are very few theaters or social art places in Libya. In precise there is no presence of any public theatre and only a few cinema places exist in Libya. There are instances when groups gather during festivals to show case and let the people enjoy their long-established folk culture. Most of these traditional practices are influenced by the Islamic culture.

Among other historical sites include the Archaeological Museum, Natural History Museum, Leptis Magna Museum of Antiquities, Sabratha Museum of Antiquities, the archaeological sites of Ptolemais and Appolonia found in both the western and the eastern parts of the country. The Sabha Museum is best known for artifacts of remains of the earlier Fezzan area.

The emergency: Human Rights Problems

Among the main headlines concerning disasters going on around the world around beginning of March was “More than 215,000 people, mainly migrant workers, have fled Libya in the past two weeks but there is a shortage of flights to repatriate them, aid agencies said on Tuesday” (Geneva March 6, Reuters).

The migration to Tunisia, Niger and Egypt had begun slowing in recent recorded days as skirmishing in western Libya had restricted movement. It was reported that at both borders, Egypt and Tunisia, most of those in anticipation of evacuation were Bangladeshi single men. (Adrian Edwards, spokesman of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees) told news briefings that, “there remains a critical shortage at present of long-haul flights to Bangladesh, other parts of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa”.

Forces devoted to leader Muammar Gaddafi were fighting rebels along the northern, coastal highway and disquiet was on the increase over government use of air strikes. Further, France and Britain had commenced fore-fronting a drive at the United Nations for a no-fly zone over Libya.

At the same time in Tunisia, some 13,000 Bangladeshis who had ran away from Libya were staying at Choucha camp in close proximity to the Ras Adjir border, while 3,700 Bangladeshis were trapped on the Egyptian border. This information was given by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). They however also noted that those evacuations couldn’t possibly be carried out in time.

This was due to the fact that people trying to flee Libya ran into military road blocks where mobile phones were seized. It came to light that some of the people fleeing couldn’t account for the decrease in numbers, which did not make sense because there were many roadblocks, making it hard to get out (Al-Hawaat 56).

The unstable state of affairs in Libya caused widespread disorder and had deadly consequences between its citizens. Death tolls of 2000 across the country and more than 3000 injured were being reported. Libyan people were facing a humanitarian crisis caused primarily by scarcity of medical and food supplies.

Set up in hurriedness at a distance of around 8 km from the Tunisian border with Libya to deal with the emergency caused by the refugees who, since 20 February, had been running away from the chaotic state of affairs in Libya, the camp of Ras Jadir had to cope with the influx of 150,000 frantic people. At the same camp, there were very few Libyan citizens there. Most of them were foreign workers from countries nearby and further away such as Nigeria, China, Mali, Ghana, Morocco, Bangladesh and Egypt.

Others were from Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia and some hailing from Tunisia itself. The conflict over political power in Libya was being fought with weapons, but the majority of the casualties were civilians. In Benghazi, Tobruk, Misurata, Adschdabija and Sawija the collision between government troops and rebels resulted in numerous deaths and injuries.

According to the United Nations, the number of refugees at that time surpassed 180,000. Tens of thousands of the masses, particularly migrant workers from other African states and Asians, were stranded at the borders to Egypt and Tunisia. Hospitals in the area could hardly cope with the number of wounded and severely deficient of medicines and medical equipment.

The “German Medical Aid Organization Medeore” along with the “Libyan Doctors for Hospitals in Libya” began partnering to give the desperately needed medical assistance and instruments to the affected areas. (Libyan Doctors for Hospitals in Libya is an independent organization, which provides aid regardless of political, religious or ideological beliefs.) Medicines and medical equipment was being allocated expressly to hospitals according to requirement. The Benghazi Jala Hospital is one illustration.

It is the biggest emergency hospital in the Eastern region of the country and caters to more than one million patients. Numerous other hospitals in the region relocate their patients to Benghazi Jala Hospital. At present the hospital is seriously short of personnel, medicines and equipment. Further hospitals that are in vital need of medical aid are located in Tobruk, Derna, Albaida and Ajdabia (Corfield np).

On Thursday March 3, 2011, the Obama Administration broadcasted that it was providing assistance to those running away from Libya. President Obama stated that the United States was sending military airplanes to assist Egyptians who fled to Tunisia to get back home to Egypt, and had sanctioned USAID to charter civilian airplanes to assist people from other countries to get home. He also stated that the United States was “supporting the efforts of international organizations to evacuate people as well.”

The UNHCR and IOM liaised with the governments of Egypt and Tunisia and called on the international community to support a huge emergency humanitarian evacuation in order to ease pressure at the Tunisian border. President Obama and Secretary Clinton sternly stated that the violence in Libya had to stop. They further stated that the gross and systematic infringements of human rights by the Government of Libya were completely unacceptable and would not be tolerated.

Further, those who were seeking refuge from the violence in Libya were to be allowed to leave Libya. They appealed to countries in the Diasporas to continue providing safe havens and support to those affected who had now become refugees. They called on all governments to help with the repatriation of their own citizens.

Much emphasis was put on thanking the bodies which had considerably assisted thus far and able bodies were called upon to continue assisting so that those affected could begin regaining their dignity and would be eased of the Human Rights problems they were facing.

As world leaders continuously search for approaches to address this humanitarian emergency, they should also call for the safety of African migrants, refugees and asylum seekers who are still inside Libya and support for efforts to allow these individuals to flee to safety. This is in a bid to ensure that their human rights are not violated any further.

Human right activists - strike.

Human right activists

With a highly praiseworthy determination and generosity, Tunisia has taken up the burden of responsibility for the refugees in a bid to help them gain their human rights. Since the very first days, everybody from the forces of law and order to government representatives, down to confidential citizens from every part of the country – even from the poorest oases – everyone has been bringing relief to those people.

However, Tunisia cannot carry on supporting the burden of the emergency solely. The fact that the international community should organize itself to tackle the problem has becoming of the greatest urgency.

In 2004, “Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and Gaddafi signed an agreement to curtail illegal migration to Italy, with Libya agreeing to deport SubSaharan migrants using the Libyan region to their native nations. Since then, thousands of refugees have been deported back to nations, such as Eritrea and Sudan where they faced harassment that was an apparent contravention of human rights and refugee laws (Pan 104).

Migration/refugee/IDP issues

Displaced individuals especially during a war are usually faced by a lot of issues, their lives and rights are most likely violated due to the fact that they are on the run for this individuals, it is not business as usual for them because they probably must have lost their jobs, their source of lively hood and even is some instance loved one’s.

The Libyan civil war has displaced a lot of individuals rendering them homeless and earning them a refugee status, many individuals who have fled the war torn areas. All over sudden the normal lifestyle that these individuals were used to changed and most of them had lost their homes and now they were on the run on the road looking for somewhere where they could be safe away from the violence.

Numerous refugees and now internally displaced Libyans together with other stranded foreigners who have Fled the violence that erupted in Tripoli have been forced to walk hundreds of miles by road, and close to 3,000-4,000 have been reported to be crossing the Libya-especially in the beginning of the civil war in March 2011. Records indicate that in the midst of those evading the violence were indigenous Libyans as well as foreigners who included Egyptians, Tunisians and Turks.

The month of February prompted the Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Flattini, to articulate his concerns, that the number of refugees from Libya, was rising at a very alarming and disturbing rate and that his country feared that close to 200,000-300,000 refugees from Libya would find their way into his county and other neighboring nations.

The Italian government over this period had captured many refugees who were fleeing Libya into their country who had traveled many kilometers on risky ships with searching for a safe haven. In some cases the Italian Authorities received ships with unaccounted minors who were in a very poor state of health and the Italian government was forced to establish facilities which the Refugees could be taken to in Sicily.

In the month of March, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had established claims and complaints of discrimination against sub-Saharan Africans who were held in hazardous and life threatening conditions in no-man’s-land connecting Tunisia and Libya.

In the month of March figures from humanitarian bodies and other interested parties indicated that close to 200,000 refugees had run away from Libya to other bordering nations such as Tunisia and Egypt (The World Factbook, np).

Libyan refugees fleeing war torn areas

Figure 1: Libyan refugees fleeing war torn areas.

A temporary refugee camp was put into place by humanitarian organizations in Ras Ejder with a capacity of handling10, 000 refugees the numbers of refugees in the region ended up crowding the camp with up to 30,000 refugees.

It is clear that the responsible authorities were having quite a hard time to keep up with the numbers of refugees and moreover the refugee camps were overstretched in terms of resources making it quite hard for refugees to enjoy their basic rights of food, health, clothes and shelter.

Despite refugee camps opening up, the war inside Libya had gotten so intense that many other refugees and displaced individuals were still trapped in the Libyan war torn regions, even before mid march the refugee situation could be described as a nightmarish because it had become very hard to even move any supplies from point a to point b humanitarian organizations such as World Health Organization were deeply concerned that the health of refugees was at risk and that the risk of epidemics was getting bigger and bigger.

With such a huge chunk of refugees who were migration and on the move while also many people were being displaced a number of issues thus arose some of which included the basic rights which human being s deserve to enjoy over the normal daily course of life some of this issues evolved around healthcare, education, the right to work and earn money earn money, the right to human dignity, freedom of movement, the right to food, children and women rights and so fourth. With the war intensifying IDP’s found them in a very tricky situation whereby insecurity put their lives at risk.

Libyan Refugee camp

Figure 2: Libyan Refugee camp.

The situation in Libya has become so grim and thus many human rights of refuges are being violated due to the presence of violence and the level of disorganization that has come about as the result of the war between forces allied to rebels and forces allied to Muamar Gaddafi.

Most displaced individuals do not currently have access to a good a balanced diet for their families, besides food the destruction of infrastructure as a result of the war has made it difficult for food and even water to move as it freely did move through out Libya.

Previously before the war Libyan farmers and importers of food products could have easily transported food and other products from one region to another, but now since the county is divided and some of the countries regions such as Misrata which are east of Tripoli have made it quite difficult for economic activities such as Farming to take place efficiently.

Since food is scarce in some regions that also makes it hard for refugees to access the same. Rebels and government supporting forces have grown paranoid and hostile to foreign IDP’S and also humanitarian workers and have often killed humanitarian workers who had sacrificed their daily lively hood towards supplying food to refugees and IDP’s.

Since many foreign humanitarian workers are being killed in the pretext of being accused as mercenaries due to the paranoia of forces fighting at both sides then the refuges have found themselves starving and even children are now malnutritioned due to the lack of balanced diets. Without food security then the immunity systems of children, women and other refugees makes it even hard for them to remain healthy and this makes it hard for them to fight diseases leading to numerous health issues.

United Nations appraisal mission as soon as the uprising broke out revealed that food security was a major concern for the people in Libya according to WFP, many Libyans are reliant on food aid to stay alive and this was witnessed by U.N officials when they when they went through Nalout, Wazin, Jadu and Zintan whereby they only saw cows during their mission of their mission the U.N. officials saw no sheep or goats.

Consequently WFP dispersed 800 cubic meters of food to the areas which were affected where approximately 125,000 people were hardly hit. Up to date U.N has supplied over 6,000 tons of food aid. U.N has supplied food to over 500,000 people in Libya and has warned that if the crises persists that more humanitarian efforts must be put in place.

Apart from food issues refugees are also faxing a lot of health related issues for those refugees and IDP’s who have fallen sick due to epidemics or even injuries that they have sustained in the course of the civil war. According to World Health Organization, Misrata is in the middle of a critical and distressed health position whereby there is a lot of shortage of medical supplies and human resources.

Although fighting between the two sides has decreased over time it has become hard to estimate and reach casualties due to hostility from the fighting factions. World Health Organization figures suggest that an average of 12 deaths and 70 injuries occur daily due to fighting and these numbers are on the rise, but there is a shortage of the necessary resources that are required to handle medical problems of this magnitude.

Some of the medical issues are not only physical but also mental because some of the events that these refugees and IDP’s have witnessed especially children has ended up making it quite hard for children to sleep the sound of bullets and rocket launchers have traumatized and refugees and they leave in fear, in some cases those who have lost loved ones have ended up experiencing mental breakdowns.

Libyan refugees who have lost their homes

Figure 1: Libyan refugees who have lost their homes

Many of the refugees and IDP’S were previously in the Libyan education system but the war has disrupted their education making it hard for them to go to school. Education is a basic right of children but due to the war in Libya it has become hard for children to enjoy their rights.

All levels of education have been interrupted and even male adults have joined in on the war and taken up arms. Refugees also have problems of security and many women and children in war torn areas or those fleeing have ended up being victims of rape and violence prompting the interest of the International Criminal Court (ICC).The absence of appropriate housing and shelter ahs made it quite unsafe for refugees to leave in peace

Resettlement issues

With numerous Individuals displaced by the uprising in Libya they have become refugees and have moved into refugee camps, during the start of the war those individuals who were lucky were able to move out of the country, foreign nationals got help from their country making in quite possible for them to flee the region before the uprising became full scale.

Many humanitarian organizations together with government s of the European Union and the United States of America have been key towards ensuring that resettlement of refugees and IDP’s in Libya would occur more smoothly and peacefully.

The number of individuals who have found themselves in the Tunisian and Libyan border is well in the hundreds of thousands and many of these individuals also do not have any other home to go to these has prompted the need for U.N and other collaborating bodies to put in place the necessary mechanisms that will help this individuals who have nowhere to go to get new homes if not in the region them as political refugees in other parts of the world.

The global community has put in a lot of efforts to responds to migrants and refugees and also IDP’s fleeing Libya as the result of the civil unrest and violence that has claimed over 13,000 lives. The meticulous resettlement desires of refugees in Libya must be quickly facilitated so that displaced individuals with nowhere to go can be placed in other countries including The U.S.A.

Refugees who were earlier settled in Libya from other regions such as Iraq, Sudan and were registered by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, and live in Tripoli and other regions of Libya may have found themselves in problems and either have been accused of being spy’s and mercenaries need to be resettled urgently before being harmed. U.N figures suggest that up to 8,000 refugees another 3,000 asylum seekers have already been resettled or efforts to resettle those who wish to leave the county are underway.

U.N’s findings have indicated that there exists a lot of hostility and unfair treatment towards Sub-Saharan Africans in Libya and advised that every county which had a consulate or links with Libya to take responsibility and ensure that their citizens are air lifted out of their countries s and taken to much more safer areas.

The United States of America through their president Barrack Obama has also disbursed over $ 50,000 to assist those individuals who have particularly been stranded in Arab democracies that are part of the democratic struggle, this funds have proven helpful towards ensuring that make resettlement of refugees and IDP’s in Libya takes place more effectively furthermore the international community and U.N. has requested America to immediately lessen redundant processing delays in the resettlement plan that are currently hindering the relocation of refugees coming from diverse parts of the globe to the United States.

Fresh reports on human Rights have brought to light the brutal impact the delays that various refugees face in particular thousands of Iraqi refugees and U.S.-affiliated Iraqis who were initially supposed to be moved to the U.S. for relocation but are currently stuck in other nations such as in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and within Iraqi itself. Some of these individuals are treated as traitors and are eventually injured by locals and if they survive they usually live a life of anxiety and worry as they await their resettlement.

Additionally the resettlement of Libyans has prompted the governments of Tunisia, Egypt and other neighboring countries to request UNHCR provide the necessary assistance so that these governments can be able to develop the necessary infrastructure that can help improve the living standards of these refugees when they finally are resettled.

These countries have argued that in order to help to help meet the rising needs of both refugees and migrants coming out of out of Libya it is necessary that Humanitarian organization work hand in hand with them.

Both Egypt and Tunisia are countries that have a lot of needs and limited resources to support a population incursion, the government of these countries have also recently faced uprising s and are afraid that if resources meant for their citizens are diverted to cater for refugees then the citizens of their countries are most likely to perceive this negatively.

Both Egypt and Tunisia host presently refugee populations and the level of assistance that is given to them to host these refugees are very limited. Egypt alone currently hosts approximately 40,000 registered refugees from nations such as Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia just to mention.

With a high number of refugees are presently registered and set for relocation from Egypt and additionally given the given the current political changes and delicate atmosphere of the Arab league nations, resettlement capacity must now ensure that the host nations are not bothered in any way by resettlement activities and this can be achieved by ensuring that U.N. offers the relevant assistance to release the pressure that the host nations face while hosting refugees.

Humanitarian organizations such as U.N should ensure that Sustainable and secure solutions are adopted so that refugees can be able to rebuild their lives in the future and become stable individuals who are independent. Human Rights organizations appreciate efforts that America offered to the refugees and IDP’s that have come out of the Libyan uprising.

Additionally Italy has also assisted by ensuring that those refugees whom have been captured while fleeing Libya though are illegal immigrants, they have been placed in proper holding facilities in Sicily. The European Union although having been accused of fuelling the current rebellion and violence in the Arab world have also played a big part in ensuring that refugees are well taken care of.

There are numerous issues that surround Migration/ refugee/ and internally displaced persons. The Libyan Uprising is no different because it has developed into a humanitarian situation whereby many individuals have lost their homes, and previously resettled refugees and Asylum seekers have also found themselves homeless and in the border of Tunisia and Libya. These individuals are faced with numerous challenges and their day to day livelihood is very hard.

The luckier portion of refugees and IDP’s resettlements issues have had had the chance to be resettled in other countries with the assistance of U.N and other countries within the E.U and the United States of America. Although there is need for humanitarian organization to ensure that they come up with sustainable means under which refugees and displaced individuals can get back on their feet it is also necessary to ensure that host countries get the necessary assistance to support refugee populations.


Fareed Ismael, my interviewee, started by acknowledging that though the abnormal fact about Libya is that it is a big nation as compared to its quite small population though the population is principally concentrated very closely along the coastline.

The population density is about 50 persons/sq. km in the two northern parts of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, but goes to below one person per sq. km in other parts with 90% percent of the population living in less than ten percent of the region, mainly along the Mediterranean coastline just south of the coast. About 88 percent of the people living in urban centers, principally concentrated in the 3biggest cities (Tripoli , Benghazi and Misrata).

Libya has a populace of approximately 6.5 m people, with almost partly of them are aged 15 years and below. As of 1984, the population was 3.6 million and was increasing at a remarkable 4 percent yearly, with the 1984 population total had increased from the 1.55 million taken in 1964.

The current populace of Libya is made up of numerous different groups; however the majority identify themselves as Arabs. Over 90% of Libya’s populace of the Arabic speaking Muslims is a mixture of Berber and Arab ancestry, though the Berbers lived way long before the Arabs got to Libya.

Arab invaders brought the Arab language and cultural values to Libya between the 7th to the 11th century, but inter-marriage with Berbers and other natives over the years has formed such a twist that not many Libyans can validate asserts to pure or even primarily Arab ancestry.

Berbers, other native “minority people, and black Africans compose much of the rest, even though small spread groups of Greeks, Muslim Cretans, Maltese, and Armenians make up long-established communities in urban areas” (United Nations Economic & Social Council np).

A map showing the tribal composition of Libya

A map showing the tribal composition of Libya.

The native people in Libya are mainly “Arabs or a mix of Arab and Berber ethnic groups, with small minorities of Berber-speaking tribe groups and small black African groups, such as Tuaregs and Tebus those are predominant nomads or semi nomads” (Pam 248). Among foreign inhabitants, the biggest groups are individuals of other African countries, mainly North Africa natives and SubSaharan Africa natives. As of 2011, there were also an approximately 50,000 Bangladeshis, 30,000 Chinese and 30,000 Filipinos. Libya is home to many immigrants that is more than 1 million, mainly Egyptians and Sub Saharan natives and a small Italian minority. Earlier, there was a noticeable presence of Italian settlers though many went back after self-government in 1947 and many others went in 1970 after the succession of Muammar Gaddafi.

The Main Arab Tribes of Libya:

The tribal structure in Libya is still a primary aspect of the Libyan society. In Libya there are approximately 140 tribal groups and clan groups. Many of the Libyan surnames take the tribal name and thus one can effortlessly identify an individual’s tribe just by knowing his surname, for instance a native can easily know Col. Gaddafi comes from the Gaddadfa Tribe.

  1. – Western Libya: Warfallah (Warfalla, Werfella) (the biggest Arab tribe in western Libya with approximately 1 million memers); Az-Zintan; Awlad Busayf; Maslata; Masrata; Al-Rijban; and Al-Majabra.
  2. Central Libya: This is to the desert area between Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. It is made up of the Qaddafi; Al-Magarha; Al-Magharba; Al-Riyyah; Al-Haraba; and Al-Zuwaid.
  3. Eastern Libya: This region is made up Az-Zuwayya; Banu Saleem; Mesratha; Tawajeer; Kawar; Masamir; Al-Obeidi etc.

The Berber Tribal Groups of Libya

The Berbers are the native residents of Libya and the Sahara. There are several tribal groups found in East Libya, West Libya and across the whole Sahara desert where they have lived since the early civilization.

It is approximated that the Berber make up around 10-23 percent of Libya’s populace, and thus making assumptions that an average of 17 percent would give just under 1 million Berbers. Libya’s Berber tribal groups in are composed of several of tribes that a sub-divided into subtribes. The Berbers can be sub-divided into 3 tribes:

  1. The Western Berbers: Ait Willoul (those tribes inhabiting the coastal city of Zwara or Zuwarah, comprising a group of 12 sub-tribes. Among the main sub tribes and clans of Zuwarah are: Ind Mensor; At-Lellou; Al-Edrisi tribe; Ind Esa; Ind Zeffour; Ind Gezzoul; and Ind A’ettoush); and Nafousah.
  2. The Eastern Berbers
  3. The Southern Berbers: These are mainly theTuareg tribe.
A picture of Berbers

A picture of Berbers

The Jews: The Jews’ existence in Libya can be traced back to the time of the Pharaoh of early Egyptian kingdom. However, when the Germans took over Benghazi area they were persecuted and even deported, and therefore the much of the Jewish community sought refuge in other North African nations and European nations.

Culture, religion and social life of Libyans

Arabic is the official language in Libya and most-spoken language (95% of the population), the second language is the Tamazight (that is, Berber languages), it is spoken by 5 percent of the people mostly Berbers and Tuaregs, though doesn’t have official status.

All Berber-speaking Libyans live above the “Jebel Nafusa region (Tripolitania), the town of Zuwarah on the coast, and the city-oases of Ghadames, Ghat and Awjila” (United Nations Economic & Social Council, np). Also some few people speak Italian and English but mostly in the big cities.

As Arabs are the majority in Libya, the principal religion in Libya is Islam with 97 percent of the people practicing Islam. Many of the Libyan Muslims practice Sunni Islam that gives both a spiritual guidance for the people and a foundation for government policies, however a minority (5-10 percent) practice Ibadism.

Col. Qaddafi asserts that Islam is the only feasible structure, which can help answer the nation’s political, economic and social issues and give him contentment in future. The Islamic Hijri calendar is compulsory. Even bars, nightclubs and modest and provocative entertainment are illegal.

Family life still remains an important aspect of people in Libya. Until only of late the extended family structure was the known system, but currently it is gradually more common for young couples to establish their own homes, especially common in the big cities. Libyans always uphold the reputation and honor and dignity of their family through their own conduct, which is a collective culture.

Works Cited

Al-Hawaat, Ali., “The Family and the work of women, A study in the Libyan Society.” National Center for Research and Scientific Studies of Libya, 2006. Print.

Azema, James. Libya Handbook. New York: Footprint Handbooks, 2001. Print.

Blundy, David and lycett Andrew. Qaddafi and Libyan revolution. Michigan: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987. Print.

Corfield, Gareth. “Norwegian Libyan contribution may yield oil contracts”. The Foreigner. 2011. Web.

Drik, Vandewalle. A history of modern Libya. London; Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.

Pan, Chia-Lin. “The Population of Libya.” Population Studies, 3(1) p. 100–125, p. 104, 1949. Print.

The World Factbook. “Economy – Libya.” CIA World Factbook. July 14, 2006. Web.

United Nations Economic & Social Council. “Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Report.” Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. July 14, 1996. Web.

This Term Paper on Modern Libya’s History was written and submitted by user Nola West to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Nola West studied at Oregon Health & Science University, USA, with average GPA 3.22 out of 4.0.

Need a custom Term Paper sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

301 certified writers online


Cite This paper

Select a citation style:


West, N. (2019, May 7). Modern Libya's History [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Work Cited

West, Nola. "Modern Libya's History." IvyPanda, 7 May 2019,

1. Nola West. "Modern Libya's History." IvyPanda (blog), May 7, 2019.


West, Nola. "Modern Libya's History." IvyPanda (blog), May 7, 2019.


West, Nola. 2019. "Modern Libya's History." IvyPanda (blog), May 7, 2019.


West, N. (2019) 'Modern Libya's History'. IvyPanda, 7 May.

More related papers