Around the world this past week, protesters and activists have been making their voices heard about slavery and abuses of migrants in Libya. Celebrities such as Naomi Campbell and Rihanna have joined in the mass outcry on social media. In London, Paris, Pretoria and Stockholm, crowds have been demanding that Europe put pressure on Libya, after a shocking CNN report detailed how some migrants trapped in the country were being forced into slavery.
But as I said last week, while Libya has been known for horrific abuses in its migrant detention centers, Europe has a large role to play in the horrific conditions that have led to black Africans being sold like livestock in Libya. A new report by Amnesty International says that European governments have been “knowingly complicit in the torture and abuses of tens of thousands of refugees and migrants detained by Libyan immigration authorities …by actively supporting the Libyan authorities in stopping sea crossings and containing people in Libya.” The report, called “Libya’s Dark Web of Collusion,” says that “the use of aid, trade, and other leverage to push transit countries, including some where widespread and systematic human rights violations against refugees and migrants has been documented, to implement stricter border control measures … risks trapping [them] in countries where they are exposed to serious human rights violations.” Italy and other member states have been supporting the Libyan coast guard to return migrants.
When it comes to Libyan attitudes toward other Africans, the report says that there is a “general acquiescence about detaining sub-Saharan Africans as a means of deterrence”; an unnamed Libyan official said off the record that the migrants and refugees “cannot be left to roam freely, and they will swarm the country.”
More in the video above. Long story short, those concerned about slavery should save some of their anger for Europe’s complicity.