The Libyan government has rejected responsibility for the alleged slave trading of trafficked human beings going on in the country, describing the media coverage as “fierce and blind campaigns”.
After a CNN report uncovered the dehumanising abuse of African migrants in Libya who are being reportedly sold for around N145,000 ($400), the international outrage has grown to deafening heights.
According to a statement released by the Embassy of Libya in Nigeria, the Government of National Accord said the issue of human trafficking is one that the government has been battling for years.
The government claimed that the country itself has been harmed as the hub of African migrants trying to sneak their way illegally into Europe through the Mediterranean sea.
The statement read in part, “Libya considers such matter, if accurate, is a result of illegal immigration. Libya is harmed of it, she rejects being held responsible.
“Solving the issue of illegal immigrants is a collective responsibility to the countries of origin, transit and destination. Moreover, Libya spends a lot of money to construct and manage camps to accommodate the immigrants and facilitate their voluntary return to their countries.”
Despite not accepting culpability for the alleged slave trading, or admitting it to be the entire truth, the government promised to crack down on perpetrators.
“The Libyan Authority has immediately instructed the relevant authority to carry out a comprehensive investigation on this criminal claim according to the Libyan law and reveal its findings to local and international community; apprehend and punish persons responsible for it, be it human trafficking of immigrants or human trading.
“We emphasise on important issue of saving immigrants from suffering and political execrations.
“Libya and its people are Africans, jointly invests in African countries and open its border to African brothers, she accepts more than two million African workers from different countries working in different fields and legally live in dignity in Libya. Libya has bug investments in African countries worth over $10 billion.”
On Wednesday, November 29, at the European Union-African Union summit in Cote d’Ivoire, African and European leaders agreed on an urgent evacuation plan that would see about 15,000 people flown out of Libya.
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, described the slave auction footage as “the most egregious abuses of human rights and may amount to crimes against humanity.”
It has also been condemned by Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Metig, Guinean President and African Union (AU) Chairman, Alpha Conde, Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou, and the Senegalese government.
Burkina Faso also recalled its ambassador to Libya with President Roch Marc Christian Kabore demanding information from the Libyan government about the fate of some 30 Burkinabe migrants detained in the camps.
President Muhammadu Buhari‘s Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa condemned the slave auction in a press statement on Monday, November 20.
She described it as “totally unacceptable, despicable, and inhumane and should be condemned by anyone who is human and has blood running through their veins.”
During the EU-AU summit this week, French President, Emmanuel Macron, called the revelation “a crime against humanity” and urged leaders present to “launch concrete military and policing action on the ground to dismantle those networks.”