Published: Thu, November 23, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

France seeks UN Security Council meeting on migrants in Libya

France seeks UN Security Council meeting on migrants in Libya

Burkina Faso's foreign minister said on Monday it had recalled its ambassador to Libya over a report that black African migrants were being auctioned as slaves there.

The African Union (AU) added its voice to the outrage that greeted footage last week of African migrants being auctioned at a "slave market" in Libya, and on Tuesday AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat called on African countries to help.

During a question and answer session on Wednesday at the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament, Le Drian said France will seek to implement sanctions if Libyan authorities fail to take action.

Macron said he wanted the U.N. Security Council to discuss what concrete steps could be taken to tackle the issue.

Recalling that the libyan authorities, " repeatedly alerted", had launched an investigation, Mr Le Drian wished "it to go fast", for justice to be rendered, otherwise " we will have to engage in an global process of punishment", he threatened.

"What has been revealed is indeed trafficking of human beings, it's a crime against humanity", Macron said during a news conference with African Union President Alpha Conde.

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The UNSC meeting will likely be next week, a French diplomat said.

I am deeply appreciative of the offer made by the government of Rwanda to resettle up to 30,000 African migrants languishing in Libya or transport those who wish to return to their countries of origin.

"What happened in Libya is shocking, scandalous, but we must establish the responsibilities", Conde said. "In Libya there is no government, so the European Union cannot choose a developing country and ask that country to detain refugees (...) when it doesn't have the means to do so", he added.

Human rights groups have criticized the European Union for pressuring Libya into stopping the flow of migrants to Europe.

United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein accused the worldwide community of turning a "blind eye to the unimaginable horrors endured by migrants in Libya" and called the EU's policy "inhuman". Most recently, the UN's International Organization for Migration has also alerted the international community of cases where migrants were being sold between human trafficking gangs.

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