Saturday, November 25, 2017

The barbarism in Libya must cease

African migrants being sold in slave markets across Libya 
The European Union, the United Nations, African Union, ECOWAS were all slow in acting and the results have been catastrophic for hundred of thousands of African migrants who have been held captive, confined in small spaces fit to pack sardines, tortured, killed and maimed. 

Those who survive the inhumane treatment are sent to slave markets were they are sold at slave auctions for as little as $ 400 per human being.   The United Nations have declared the actions of the Libyan slave traders as crime against humanity whose perpetrators must be stopped, arrested and tried. 

But first, countries whose nationals are being traded as slaves must - individually - take proactive measures to put a halt to the barbarism being meted out by the various factions controlling individual regions of Libyan since the toppling of the Libyan dictator. 

Collectively, the African countries must act in concert with all the relevant regional bodies, including ECOWAS and the African Union, to apply diplomatic pressure on both the European Union and the United Nations to consider all options, including military action against the Libyan renegades. 

The United Nations, meanwhile, should station investigators on Libyan soil to apprehend the rogue criminals who capture and imprison African migrants for ransom - a human trafficking trade that has been going on for as long as the human wave of migrants started several years ago. 

The United States should have been a logical partner in this exercise, since they led the military action that toppled Qaddafi but because of the current occupant of the White House, it will be a pure waste of energy to attempt at bringing in the US into the fold.  Trump will simply not be interested in saving African lives.

The challenges facing the international community have grown complex because the signs and warnings of these horrific acts of inhumanity have been ignored for years by the European Union whose main preoccupation was protecting their borders and deporting those who made it through the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean.

The Gambia, the smallest of the African countries, is the second highest per capita exporter of migrants to Europe through the Sahara Desert-Libya route.  Despite this proportionally high number of Gambians exposed to these dangers, its initial share of the $2 billion is a $4 million grant earmarked for the resettlement of 1,500 irregular migrants to be repatriated from Libya to the Gambia. 

In as much as the reentry program is an important component of the migrants' problem, their safety and humane treatment in Libya is paramount at this juncture.  Every African government, whose nationals are stuck in no-man's land, must have, as its top priority, their extrication to safety.  They cannot do it alone.  They must do it in collaboration with the European Union and the United Nations.