4 December 2017

Libya Deports Migrants to Stop Slave Trade

Addis Ababa — LIBYA is to deport 15 000 migrants before the end of the year as part of plans to address the auctioning of the foreign nationals as slaves.

The African Union (AU) and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have put in place a Voluntary Humanitarian Evacuation of Migrants plan to facilitate the repatriations.

This would also tackle overcrowding in government-controlled detention centres and curb an epidemic outbreak such as scabies, already noticed amongst infants. Over 70 children are detained.

The AU Commission will also work with the Libyan authorities for the closure of all detention centres and de-criminalisation of irregular migrants.

Currently, there are at least 20 000 migrants in government detention centres, including the Tariq Al Matar that hosts about 3 820 migrants.

Speaking in Addis Ababa after visiting Libya, AU special envoy, Amira El Fadi, reaffirmed the strong condemnation by the AU of the auctioning and mistreatment of African migrants.

She expressed the AU's commitment to work with Libyan authorities to carry out an immediate investigation on the inhumane situation of African migrants in Libya and to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.

"The present migrant crisis and its resolution are beyond the control of Libyan authorities and what they can handle on their own. There is need for the AU and the larger international community to further support their efforts," El Fadi said.

Yearly, thousands of undocumented, desperate African refugees attempt to make their way to Europe by boat through Libya. In 2017, Mediterranean migrant arrivals reached 164 654 while 3 038 deaths were recorded.


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