The African Union (AU), European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) have decided to put in place a task force in Libya to check migrant abuse in the north African country.
The AU’s Moussa Faki Mahamat, EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, its foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met on Wednesday morning on the sidelines of the ongoing Africa – European Union summit in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan.
A statement joint press release said the EU-AU-UN Task Force aims “to save and protect lives of migrants and refugees along the routes and in particular inside Libya, accelerating the assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin, and the resettlement of those in need of international protection.
This action will build on, expand and accelerate the ongoing work done by countries of origin, and the IOM, with EU funding, which allowed so far the voluntary return to their countries of origin of 13 000 migrants since January
“This action will build on, expand and accelerate the ongoing work done by countries of origin, and the IOM, with EU funding, which allowed so far the voluntary return to their countries of origin of 13 000 migrants since January,” it added.
The work of the task force is to be coordinated with the ‘recognised’ Libyan authorities with the main goal of dismantling trafficking and criminal networks. It will also seek to help countries of origin and transit for migrants to tackle the root causes of migration via development opportunities and stability.
Even though the AU-EU summit is targeted at the African youth, the issue of migrant abuse has been thrust to the fore following the release of slave market footage in Libya, where white Libyans are selling black Africans for as much as $400.
Libya descended into chaos following the 2011 ouster of its leader at the time Muammar Gaddafi. French forces backed by NATO aided rebel groups to overthrow Gaddafi. Ever since the country has been divided by rival political groups.
The issue of migration via the country has spiked following Gaddafi’s exit. Several initiatives have been undertaken to halt the rampant migration which has led to unprecedented deaths in the Mediterranean according to aid groups working in the region.