(Xinhua/NAN) South Africa on Thursday joined the international community to condemn the alleged auctioning of African migrants in Libya as slaves.
This came after a video footage apparently showing Africans being auctioned in Libya, went viral on social media.
“These inhumane acts are incongruent with the ideals of the AU and relevant African and international instruments, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” said Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
“South Africa calls for an immediate end to these atrocities and other criminal acts of human trafficking,’’ Monyela said.
The Libyan authorities have pledged to investigate reports that hundreds of African refugees are being bought and sold in “slave markets” across Libya every week.
Many of them are held for ransom or forced into prostitution and sexual exploitation to pay their captors and smugglers.
“South Africa welcomes the announcement by the Libyan authorities to investigate and identify all the perpetrators and accomplices of these criminal acts and looks forward to a transparent and credible investigation.
“Publishing the outcome of the investigation will be the most prudent and welcome thing to do by the Libyan authorities.
“We further urge the Libyan authorities to do everything in their power to improve the conditions of African migrants in the camps meant to house migrants on their territory.
South Africa will continue its work to eradicate human trafficking and support international efforts to bring those who abuse vulnerable people to justice.
“We will continue to champion the respect for human rights, especially those of our fellow African brothers and sisters,’’ said Monyela.
Similarly, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that nine European and African nations, AU, the EU and the UN), have decided to urgently evacuate African migrants trapped in Libya.
Macron made the remarks at a news conference after an urgent meeting following the opening of the 5th AU-EU summit in Abidjan, the economic capital of Cote d’Ivoire.
Cote d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara called for an end to “the practice that belongs to another age” at the opening of the summit.
The UN, AU, EU and countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Chad, Niger, Libya, Republic of Congo and Morocco jointly agreed on the evacuation.
Macron said the evacuation will take place in the next few days or weeks, and called for the punishment of human traffickers linked to terrorist groups.
Libya has fallen into chaos since the 2011 uprising which led to the overthrow and killing of its longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
The coast of the North African continent has become a hub for human trafficking.