ABU DHABI, A UAE newspaper has said that there's something abhorrent happening in Libya that can only be described as a stain on the collective conscience of humanity: African migrants being sold as slaves.
In an editorial on Wednesday, The Gulf Today said, "US television network CNN aired a footage last week of an apparent live auction in Libya where black men were presented to North African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400.
Slavery has no place in our world and these actions are among the most egregious abuses of human rights and may amount to crimes against humanity, as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has pointed out.
Young African men bound for Europe are frequently caught in trafficking networks and sold for labour in Libya, where many migrants are detained, tortured and even killed, according to the UN International Organisation for Migration.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, recently termed the European Union's support for Libya's Coast Guard, which has resulted in thousands of migrants being detained in horrific conditions inside Libya, as inhuman.
From 1st to 16th November, UN human rights monitors visited four Department of Combatting Illegal Migration facilities in Tripoli, where they interviewed detainees who have fled conflict, persecution and extreme poverty from states across Africa and Asia. Monitors were shocked by what they witnessed: thousands of emaciated and traumatised men, women and children piled on top of one another, locked up in hangars with no access to the most basic necessities, and stripped of their human dignity.
The world cannot afford to remain a silent witness to modern day slavery, rape and killings in the guise of preventing desperate, traumatised people from reaching Europe's shores.
Already there have been protests at the Libyan embassies in Paris and in African capitals including Bamako, Mali and Conakry, Guinea against the slave auctions.
Singers and soccer stars too have added their voices, with Manchester United's Paul Pogba, of Guinean descent, throwing up his hands in a protest symbol after scoring a goal on Saturday and posting a message for "those suffering slavery in Libya" on Instagram.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Libyan Deputy Prime Minister, Ahmed Metig, has vowed that his UN-backed Government of National Accord would investigate the allegations.
"Not only this should be done expeditiously, the perpetrators of the horrific act should be brought to justice. Action should be taken in such a way that such incidents do not recur anywhere in the world," concluded the Sharjah-based daily.
Source: Emirates News Agency