Thursday, November 30, 2017

Libya slavery scandal overshadows EU-Africa summit

Libya slavery
 Libya has agreed to a deal with European Union and African leaders to allow refugees to be evacuated from the North African country.

The announcement comes amid recent revelations that African asylum seekers and migrants were being sold into slavery in Libya as they attempted in vain to reach European shores.

"This disgraceful drama reminds us of the darkest hours of humanity. I call on our collective sense of responsibility to take urgent action," said Alassane Ouattara, president of Ivory Coast, during a two-day African-European Union summit in Abidjan.

The summit, which was meant to focus on development in African countries, instead focused largely on the Mediterranean refugee crisis.

French President Emmanuel Macron said leaders were focused on fixing "a series of very critical issues and atrocities, like in Libya".

The African Union, European Union and the United Nations announced the creation of a task force to deal with the migration crisis, notably in Libya. The body will work in close collaboration with the Libyan government, the groups said in a statement.

The goal is "to save and protect lives of migrants and refugees along the routes and in particular inside Libya, accelerating the assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin, and the resettlement of those in need of international protection".

It will also aim to dismantle criminal networks involved in trafficking.

However UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said it was important to address the root causes of the crisis if it is to be resolved.

"We will not put an end to the tragedy in the Mediterranean if we do not create significiant, legal migration opportunities. We must also ensure that people can find a dignified future in their home country," he said during the meeting.

Others said more must be done to give young Africans opportunities at home.

"We have to invest in jobs," said Oxfam's Magalie Laliberte. "We have to invest to cover their basic needs, that's what we need to do."

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