Rwanda: Why Slavery in Libya is a Pan African Problem

Photo: le pays
Immigrants.
24 November 2017
analysis

Last week, an American television broke the appalling story about the ongoing auction of African immigrants in Libya, in a modern-day open door slave market.

This situation is to say the least, despicable.

According to videos that are doing rounds on the networks, this has been happening in northern Libya for a long period now, and most of the victims comprise the youth and others in the active workforce.

Those perceived to be non-employable are jailed for no reason and without any hope of ever getting justice.

Each of them is being sold at as cheap as $400-$500 depending on their physical appearance and perceived productive capacity.

Much applause to the Government of Rwanda, for taking the lead by not only offering to transport these stranded immigrants back to their respective countries, but also take in those that are not willing to repatriate.

Amid all these reports, a Latin saying came to my mind, and it goes; "homo homini lupus" (man is the wolf for the man). Africans were selling other Africans to fellow African miners.

There were accusations and counter accusations between the Libyan army and the Libya's UN-backed government, on who is backing the slaves' trade.

The reality is that such illegal trade takes place in Libya, and it is done by Libyans against other Africans, probably to Africans.

It is everyone's responsibility to denounce it and, above all, prevent it.

Few African media outlets came out to condemn this unacceptable case of human trafficking. And few African politicians came public to denounce such abominable acts being committed against and by brothers and sisters Africans in Libya.

I am waiting to see if the African Union shall call an extraordinary session to examine the issue of human trafficking and slaves' trade in Africa, before such meetings are organized by third parties. This is an African problem, first and foremost.

According to the reports, many of those migrants are coming from the Sahel region -which counts many foreign military interventions, mostly the French.

The paradox of Libya is that, the country does not have any legitimate government with full authority over the national territory. The country counts several armed groups, thus hindering the sovereignty of the country.

Whatever the reason, there is no justification to human trafficking or slaves' trade.

The French President, Emmanuel Macron, called on the UN Security Council to take action and investigate the reported crimes.

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres described the auction as "crimes against humanity" which should stop immediately.

President Emmanuel Macron should convene his Cabinet and his "Armed Forces Council" to examine their role in what is happening in Sahel countries and in Libya in particular, because France was the mastermind of the current chaos in Libya.

International community is putting pressure on the Libya's Government to investigate the crimes and to bring to book the suspects, but this is not enough.

In my view, the approach is not practical. The country has been destroyed by France with its allies, and it is still in its reconstruction process. Without sovereignty or authority over the territory, Libya needs extra help.

Secondly, the situation of Libya's migrants is a result of Africa's governance and education systems.

Majority of those migrants are the youth, which means that; they are hopeless in their countries of origin but also, they were taught of "paradise Europe" as dream. African -especially the youth- need to change their mind and the dream they have of Europe.

The solution should be designed at the source; where these migrants are originating from. Africa needs practical preventive approaches and economically viable frameworks that allow everyone to maximize his/her potential.

Most of these migrants who are auctioned for slavery are originating mainly from the ancient French colonies, which are still using the Franc CFA with caricatured education curricula.

African leaders should go back to the drawing board and chart out governance approaches that instill hope in the African workforce with hands on skills.

It is good for African countries to open boarders and ensure free movement of people, goods and services, but that is not enough. There is need for transformational education, and the youth should understand that; all is not of gold in Europe.

With its humanitarian spirit, Rwanda has offered to receive these African migrants, instead for them to be auctioned as useless left overs in Libya.

Isolated positive and humanitarian actions are good, but they can't solve the problem.

African Leaders should work to address the underlying problems that compel their citizenry to migration, ensure security for all and open boarders for free movement of people across Africa. The International community should support African solutions to African problems.

Slaves' trade should be denounced and condemned for the good of the entire humanity.

The writer is a Political Analyst & Member of the PanAfrican Movement, Rwanda Chapter.

The views expressed in this article are of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Times.

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