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African Union leaders condemn slave market in Libya, call for action

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Smugglers in Libya are auctioning migrants off as slaves (a screenshot of CNN footage aired on 14 November 2017

November 18, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) - The head of the African Union Alpha Conde and the chairperson of the commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, condemned the slave markets of African migrants in Libya and called to bring the culprits to Justice and to end immediately this violation of fundamental human rights.

The UN migration agency(IOM) in April 2017 said it had received reports about the existence of slave markets in Libya where West African migrants are being bought and sold openly.

This week the CNN which investigated the reports broadcasted footage of a live auction where black youths are sold to North African buyers. The reported filmed by the journalists of the international news channel showed that the migrants are sold for $400.

Chairman of the African Union and Guinean President Alpha Conde, called on the Libyan authorities to carry out an investigation into what he termed a "despicable trade... from another era".

"These modern slavery practices must end and the African Union will use all the tools at its disposal," stressed.

Also, The Chairperson of the Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, issued a statement on Saturday condemning "these despicable acts which are at odds with the ideals of the Founding Fathers of our Organization and relevant African and international instruments, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights," said a statement released on Saturday

Mahamat further welcomed the announcement by the Libyan government of an investigation into these "criminal acts" and called to immediately end the slave markets.

"The Chairperson of the Commission also intends to quickly dispatch an envoy to Libya for consultations with the Government of Libya and other stakeholders, to agree on practical steps in support of efforts to address the plight of the African migrants in Libya," further said the statement.

The Senegalese government also reacted to the CNN report on the salve market in Libya and denounced the auctioning of African migrants in the troubled north African country.

The UN refugee agency HCR said in its latest update that between January to 31 October 2017, 111,397 persons arrived in Italy by sea from Libya. The report noted a 30% decrease compared to sea arrivals in the same period last year 159,427 people.

Nigeria, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Sudan, Senegal, Eritrea, Gambia and Morocco tops the list of illegal immigrants nationality. It is noteworthy that Bangladesh is also on the list of top ten countries. The immigrants from this Asian country arrive by plane to Libya before to cross the sea to Europe.

According to the HCR, some 5852 Sudanese have arrived in Europe from Libya during this year including 5,285 men, 79 women with 39 children and 449 Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

Activists point to the responsibility of the different African countries in this situation saying there is a need for economic measures to discourage youth from being tempted by the risky adventure to cross the Sahara desert trying to reach Europe.

(ST)

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