Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara demanded action on Wednesday to combat migrant slave trading in Libya, as the issue dominated a Europe-Africa ...
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara demanded action on Wednesday to combat migrant slave trading in Libya, as the issue dominated a Europe-Africa summit meant to focus on long-term growth and stability.
Summit host Ouattara lashed slavery as a “wretched drama which recalls the worst hours of human history.”
“I would like to appeal to our sense of responsibility to take all urgent measures to put an end to that practice, which belongs to another age,” he said, opening the gathering of 55 African Union and 28 European Union nations in Ivory Coast’s economic capital.
An emergency meeting on the issue was scheduled for Wednesday night, bringing together France, Niger, Chad and Morocco as well as UN, EU and AU officials, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said.
Macron has proposed in particular a crackdown on traffickers, efforts to break up smuggling rings and the evacuation of people in Libya migrant camps who are at risk of falling into slave traders’ hands, his office said.
The summit comes just two weeks after US network CNN aired footage of black Africans sold as slaves in Libya, sparking outrage from political leaders and street protests in African and European capitals.
African Union and other critics have accused the EU of creating conditions for the slave trade as well as rape and torture of migrants by encouraging Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) to detain migrants and stop them from coming to Europe.
The EU has been desperate to ease the worst migration crisis since World War II, with more than 1.5 million migrants entering the bloc since 2015.