By Khaled Ashour

For years, Libya has been an attractive area for people from the six surrounding countries, African sub-Saharan, as well as Asian countries.

All are seeking to earn a living. Some of these immigrants used all means from collective migration to penetration into the Libyan society fabric pretending to be Libyan decedents. These practices are arranged by Libyan individuals for the purpose of either, multiplying the number of their tribe’s members and strengthening their influence, or to prove loyalty and take initiative in implementing the proposed aspirations.

The victim of these practices is the Libyan people, due to the fragility of procedures, which are based merely on a witness’s testimony or similarity in persons’ names to become a citizen, as well as corruption in Libyan administration and lack of control over entries.

What Libya is going through today, along with the behavior of some Libyans who do not have a political foresight to see the risks facing their country and threatening their internal fabric, identity, and Libyan demography, prove these serious facts coming to us from Arab and foreign workers in Libya or those who still have the desire and are trying, in every possible way, to come to Libya.

We notice the collapse of Libyan identity in several and different examples, especially in the topic we are addressing in this paper which is the displacement and migration of Libyans from their neighborhoods, areas, and cities as a result of current situations and conflicts. Furthermore, the collapse of identity is also due to the Libyan State’s inability to legislate and pass binding laws and provisions that protect Libyan identity.

The State also failed to set up restrictions that ensure rights and freedoms in accordance with firm and legal standards that serve the country and Libyan people, and maintain the Libyan demographic and national security.

Demographic Challenges:

The world population is expected to reach eight billion by 2025. The population of Arab countries is estimated to reach half a billion people, which is almost one in every 17 people in the world would be an Arab. By 2025, Egypt’s population will reach 118 million to rank first among Arab countries, followed by Sudan (60 million), Algeria (51 million), Morocco (47 million), Tunisia (12 million), while Libya comes in sixth place (7.250 million).

In addition to that, the population of Chad was 9 million according to the latest census of 1982 and Niger’s population was estimated at 11 million in 2005. Hence, we can take stock of the demographic challenge size facing .

Libya and its role in the region.

Libya has the smallest population among other neighboring countries. This challenge grows knowing that Libya’s area is the biggest after Sudan and Algeria and has a population density of 2.3 square Kilometers. The challenge is doubled when we consider political, economic and living conditions afflicting the neighboring countries.

Suffice It to mention, Libya has political and geographical borders with Niger, the poorest country in the world according to the human development reports. Moreover, unemployment rates in the geographical neighbors are high (Egypt 11%, Tunisia 13% and Algeria 15% in 2006) which cause a threat to the Libyan national security as Libya seems to be an attractive destination for migrants. [1]

Missing Statistics and Studies

Statistics, data, and information are basic elements in any development plan. Without these elements, the State’s efforts to achieve future development and prosperity for citizens cannot be achieved on the ground. In Human Sciences, the population is the main focus of many studies in various fields.

There is no doubt that today’s world is living in a phase in which population is dangerously growing. In fact, the world’s population exceeds six billion and it is constantly increasing. Hence, studying the population becomes of a paramount importance, as having a deep knowledge of demographic facts is an important basis for understanding many international variables.

Population geography cannot disregard the role of demographics because the relationship between them is reciprocal and mutually beneficial, where mathematical and statistical methods play the mediator role. Geographers realize how important the relationship between demographic and geographical research is. This trend has been evident in recent years when geographers have started to widen their vision to the various relationships while seeking answers to factors causing people’s movement within the territory based on digital analysis as a foundation and base for their research.

The study of population migration is among the most prominent features linking both sciences (Demography and Geography). In fact, immigration is a demographic phenomenon that is ruled by a number of factors which, analysis and explanation, require, respectively, a statistical and geographical basis through which the reasons and motivation behind displacement are explained.

Therefore, monitoring our society is not an easy task that would enable us to confirm the accuracy of concluded extrapolations. On one hand, some issues are multifaceted, meaning that there is no consensus about them. On another hand, data which are supposed to be relied on in justifying our allegations are not always available and in case they are, they would not be up-to-date.

If they are available and up-to-date, they may not be accurate, and if they are available, up-to-date and accurate, they may lack precision.

In general, the lack of up-to-date and accurate databases are among the problems we encounter in managing the State’s affairs. Moreover, transparency, which guarantees the accuracy of these data, is not reinforced as it should be. However, what cannot be completely attained, should not be completely left.

Therefore, the only choice we have is to make enough efforts to mitigate the impact of these unfavorable circumstances in order to conduct an objective monitoring, hoping that this step will be a first on the right path towards viable solutions. [2]

The Libyan Scene:

Any negative behavioral tendency that is prevailing as a reaction to failures will disappear when overcoming these failures. Securing economic interests and enjoying citizenship rights might change the behavioral patterns that would adopt a culture of advancement and progress. Thus, creating an alternative culture can only be achieved through creating an economic, human rights, and value-based climate where the individual interest incentives are in harmony with the public interest objectives.

Also, through relying on science as a fundamental approach in dealing with the difficulties and challenges we encounter, and through adopting educational methods in which critical thinking is playing an active role as it incorporates scientific methods in dealing with difficulties and challenges.

In the context of diagnosing and analyzing the foundations of values upon which human actions are based in our country, there is a need to identify the prevailing social propensities and what make them influential in the strategic plans built on a forward-looking vision.

While monitoring these social tendencies and propensities we note that the religious impulse is important for Libyan citizens, while their religious feelings are quite moderate. However, this heartfelt faith does not often translate into personal conscience that exercises its clout on the daily living, even though it remains viable in principle to be invested in inciting Libyans and urging them to engage in public interest activities, but rather the religious education has always been consolidating socially-rooted values of justice, solidarity, and compassion.

The whole future of the country has become dependent on a national reconciliation, which does not find its way to our society amid the absence of asserting Islamic values which preach for amnesty and restraining temptation and call for frankness, reconciliation, forgiveness, and tolerance. Therefore, there is a need more than any time before for the religious motive.

This has led to the phenomenon of taking the law into one’s own hands which all laws criminalize. This practice, which has recently spread out due to the proliferation of weapons, is explicitly ignoring the fact that regaining rights by force of arms is not less offensive than taking other people’s rights away. The prevalence of the practice of taking the law into one’s own hands is leading to chaos and loss of what has remained of the State’s prestige.

Prior the revolution, the feeling of security in its social, political and functional aspects was not strong enough due to the old regime’s repressive system and its improvisational ways. After the revolution, the situation remained the same due to the security’s breakdown and absence of State’s institutions. Hence, the situation engendered a lack of human security feeling that reached for some peoples the level of losing the meaning of life.

Those who lose the meaning of their lives might resort to finding a meaning in their death, either morally or physically. Youth, in particular, are prone to feelings of frustration and hopelessness which they satisfy through practices such as introversion, taking drugs, adopting violent ideologies, and immigrating outside the country. [3]

Who Are the Displaced People? What is Displacement?

The common feature that distinguishes displaced people is the loss of will because they are forced to leave their home territories or the area of residence for reasons out of their control. Without such compelling reasons, they would not have left their homes in search of security and peace. Thus, the displacement is a state in which a person finds one’s self compelled to leave home and territory in search of security and protection.

A displaced person is someone whose life and properties are threatened because of conflicts, civil wars, violation of fundamental rights, or natural disasters . [4]

The Impacts of Forced Migration on Displaced Persons:

The effects of the forced migration of displaced people are destructive and disruptive. Among the main effects resulting from the forced migration, we cite:

1. The economic problem.

2. The cultural and scientific problem.

3. Psychological and social dysfunction.

Maybe we should ask ourselves (about the problems facing the displaced people that are preventing them from returning back to their home regions and the repercussions of these problems on national security.

Demographical Distribution:

Disparities in the distribution of population density are among the factors influencing human development. Global disparity rate is estimated at 0.5% while it is close to 1% in Libya, where about 80% of the population live in an area that does not exceed a quarter of the country’s area (on the coastline). In Libya, 62% of major population agglomerations, which inhabitants exceed 10000, are located in only five areas, all situated on the coastal strip.

Demographic dispersion and low population density represent a demographic threat, especially in the south. Furthermore, the population overcrowding in big cities creates an imbalance and unfair consumption of resources as well as environmental pollution.

The evolution of Libyan society and its interaction with the external world have engendered challenges that were reflected in the form of negative phenomena that have prevented the desirable development of society. Therefore, it is important to create a unified vision to integrate youth into society, while protecting this social groups from the negative impacts of social and urban changes, either as a result of social movement itself, or external influences on the minds and behaviors of Libyan youth.

Facing extremist orientations that adopt violence have a direct impact on the social stability and the overall development of the country as well as it affects openness towards the other. Of course, the phenomenon of extremism raises questions about the best ways to deal with it. Encountering it requires establishing a peaceful and civilized discourse that is based on values rooted in our religious heritage and which raise the value of human beings and honors its humanity. [1]

Protracted Internal Displacement: Is local integration a Solution?

Some have given more attention to the idea of local integration as a preferable solution to resettle internally displaced people, especially in prolonged displacement situations.

Local integration is an option that is significantly different from the return to home and resettlement somewhere else. Often, local integration does not include the movement to another place. Internally displaced people may not, at a certain point of time, take a conscious decision to be internally integrated.

While all governments use the concept of “return” when discussing the return of displaced people to their home regions, they use other different concepts for local integration. In Serbia, for example, local integration is called “improvement of living conditions”, while in Georgia it is called “support for decent living conditions for displaced people and their community participation” and in Colombia, it is referred to by “stability”. Over time, resettlement options have been developed. [5]

What are the Problems Facing the Return of Displaced People to their Home Region and What are the Ways to solve these Problems?

The devastation of infrastructure caused by armed conflicts and the negative psychological impact, fear, and concern about the future are the main factors that have made displaced people reluctant to return to their villages and towns. Those who left before the start of clashes and conflicts between the parties to the dispute and the threatening of towns and villages did not live under this danger. However, crimes and violations were shown on satellite channels and were sometimes exaggerated and did not reflect the true picture of reality. In addition to the behavior of some fanatics as they entered those areas and how some cooperated with them and showed their bad inner side by seizing properties of their neighbors, friends, and relatives believing that the opportunity has come to gain spoils. They were imagining that they would continue to control the towns. However, logic, reason, and justice say that the truth must prevail, no matter how long. Therefore, if we want the return of displaced people to their homes and villages, the State, along with the support of international community, must take measures to encourage their prompt return so that to help stabilize Libya to start the reconstruction phase. [6]

Among these measures are:

1- Enforcing security and stability in cities and towns through the monitoring and vigilance of intelligence in following up with the sleeping cells and incubators cooperating with them and through conducting proactive operations to prevent armed activities in those towns.

2- Launching a big campaign through local and foreign companies, financed by international aid, for the purpose of reconstructing what conflicts have destroyed in order to provide basic services, along with strict control to prevent corruption within these projects.

3- Gradually disarming Libyan cities to exclusively keep weapons in hands of the State in order to protect people from deviant gangs and from individual crimes caused by the availability of abundant weapons in the hands of civilians.

4- Changing the religious and political discourse in a way that helps spread the spirit of brotherhood and cooperation in society and encourage patriotism and equality, along with holding accountable those who sow hatred across religious and social media platforms and via satellite channels.

5- Activating the role of the judiciary so that law applies to offenders without discrimination due to financial, regional, tribal, or religious purposes. Hence, corruption is addressed and the Libyan people regain confidence in the government and societal institutions.

6- Continuing the pursuit of terrorists and criminals in Libyan cities and fortifying the borders with neighboring countries to consolidate safety and stability in Libya so that citizens are reassured about the future.

The disadvantages engendered by armed conflicts among Libyans are significant. Thus, overcoming these disadvantages require great efforts from various State legislative and executive bodies and civil society organizations in cooperation with all Libyan people and the international community, as well as humanitarian and civic organizations.

There is no other alternative for Libyans but to renounce conflicts and work for the public interest. The future will prove whether or not Libyans learned the lesson from mistakes made in the past; the mistakes which destroyed the country and harmed people and made corruption rampant in all the joints of the state which led to this disastrous results.


1- National Authority for Information and Documentation, Final Results of the General Census of Population for the years 1984-2006.

2- The Role of Statistics in activating the Development Process. Dr. Alaa Salima Al-Hakim.

3- Libya 2040 a Looking-Forward Vision (Updating the Vision for Libya 2025) – National Planning Council.

4- Forced Migration – Khalil Wahdan.

5- Protracted Internal Displacement: Is local integration a Solution? Elizabeth Ferris and Kate Halff.

6- Immigration.. Problems and Challenges. The Case of France, Author: Violette Dagher.



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