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African-European Plan to End the Plight of Refugees in Libya

African-European Plan to End the Plight of Refugees in Libya

Friday, 1 December, 2017 - 07:00
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, front right, speaks with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, front left, during a group photo at an EU Africa summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

The Africa-European Union Summit concluded in the Ivorian capital on Thursday with the announcement of an urgent plan to end the plight of the refugees of Libya.

Leaders of more than 80 countries agreed in the summit’s final statement to strengthen cooperation in four areas, including migration, security, investment in education and sustainable development.

They also expressed their strong commitment to combat illegal immigration and the resulting slavery trade in Libya.

“There must be urgent humanitarian action in Libya,” said Alassane Ouattara, president of Cote d'Ivoire, during the closing session. He underlined the need to “end the networks of smugglers and open an international investigation.”

Alpha Conde, President of Guinea, which holds the rotating presidency of the African Union, requested that the Commission of Inquiry be under the supervision of the AU Commission on Human Rights and called for “special forces” to fight human traffickers.

The head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Fakih Mohamed, announced on Thursday that around 3,800 African migrants in Libya must be urgently evacuated, pointing out that the total number of migrants in this country ranged from “400,000 to 700,000”.

The Abidjan Summit adopted a series of urgent measures to end the practices of slavery of migrants in Libya.

French President Emmanuel Macron said after a meeting on Wednesday in the Ivorian capital that the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations have agreed to conduct “emergency evacuations in the coming days or weeks” of migrants, who are victims of human trafficking in Libya.

He added that the EU, the AU and the UN have decided to provide greater support to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in order to assist the return of Africans wishing to return to their home country, which would be carried out in the coming days, in cooperation with the concerned countries.

In addition to the urgent evacuation of Africans, Macron announced the formation of an “intervention force” of police and intelligence, as well as an awareness campaign to discourage young people from emigrating.

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