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Archbishop Tutu fellows call for actions against Libyan slavery


A migrant holds his head as he stands in a packed room at the Tariq Al-Matar detention centre on the outskirts of the Libyan capital Tripoli on November 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / TAHA JAWASHI

The Archbishop Tutu Fellows have added their voice to the groundswell of condemnation trailing the live auction of black Africans in Libya and called on nations whose citizens were sold into slavery to cut diplomatic ties with the North African country.

In a footage aired on CNN about two weeks ago, migrants from sub-Saharan nations were seen being auctioned off for as low as $400 at an undisclosed location in Libya. The men were bought to work as farmhands.


“Slavery in Libya is a crime against humanity and immediate action is required by all stakeholders, including African governments, to put an end to this outrageous practice and hold responsible parties accountable,” the Fellows said in a statement on Wednesday.

A network of about 300 emerging African leaders, the Fellows urged African leaders, the United Nations Security Council, and its related organs, to urgently declare the practice of slavery – particularly in Libya – a threat against humanity. They also urged the continent’s leaders to work closely with civil society and member states to arrest the illicit trade and create an effective punitive framework to combat slavery globally.

On Wednesday, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari described the situation as “appalling and unacceptable.”
His Ghanaian counterpart, Nana Akufo-Addo, said the situation has made “mockeries of the alleged solidarity of African nations grouped in the African Union, of which Libya is a member.”

Although only one of the auctioned men was confirmed to be a Nigerian, the CNN report that broke the story indicated that some of the black African migrants currently being held at Libya’s Treeq Alsika Migrant Detention Centre were from Nigeria and Ghana.

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