Press Release on the Trafficking in Persons and Slavery in Libya

    The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) is deeply concerned about the worsening human rights situation in Libya, and calls upon the Libyan authorities and all the relevant stakeholders to take immediate action towards putting an end to the various violations, in order to protect the rights guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter).

    According to several reports published recently, there have been cases of trafficking in persons and slavery targeting African migrant populations who have been auctioned in Libyan markets. These acts constitute a serious violation of the provisions of the African Charter, in particular Articles 2, 3, 5, 6 and 12, to which Libya is a party. Recently, the auctioning of human beings in Libya, close to the capital Tripoli, was reported by international media. According to reports, migrants are regularly sold by smugglers, in what appears to be a recurrent situation. The various reports highlight the situation of slavery in which many migrants find themselves while transiting through Libya.

    The African Commission condemns this form of inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment, and takes note of the measures announced by the Libyan authorities to conduct the necessary investigations in order to bring to justice the presumed perpetrators of this practice and to do everything possible to ensure equal access to justice for the victims.

    In a context of trying to meet both security and humanitarian needs, the Libyan authorities have to ensure, without any discrimination, respect for their regional and international obligations regarding the protection of migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and internally displaced persons. The African Commission reminds the Government of Libya that no situation should justify the continuous violation of human rights, and calls upon the national authorities to take without delay the necessary measures to ensure the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights, in accordance with Article 1 of the African Charter. The Government of Libya should also comply with its obligations under the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, the Protocol to the UN Convention against the Smuggling of Migrants, African Union policy documents on migrants, and other relevant regional and international instruments.

    The African Commission further calls upon the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations to take the necessary measures to ensure the security of the civilian population in Libya, and to do everything possible to find a lasting solution to peace and security in Libya, elements that are essential for the promotion and protection of human rights.

    Lastly, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, while requesting the Libyan authorities to report on the situation and the measures taken, expresses its intention to undertake, in due course, a fact-finding mission to Libya, in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter.  

    Done in Banjul, on 21 November 2017

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      Date: 22 November 2017

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