The African Union’s (AU) Moussa Faki Mahamat,European Union (EU) Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, its foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met on the sidelines of the ongoing Africa – European Union summit in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan to discuss a migration task force.
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.
French president Emmanuel Macron said that the European Union and African Union will launch “concrete military and policing action” to rescue African migrants enslaved in Libya and arrest human traffickers.
President Macron also said that the leaders of Libya, France, Germany, Chad, Niger and other countries have “decided on an extreme emergency operation to evacuate from Libya those who want to be”. The evacuations would start “in the coming days or weeks”.
“Libya has reaffirmed its agreement to identify camps where scenes of barbarity have been identified,” he went on. “President Sarraj has given his green light for access to be assured,” he concluded.
In a different interview with France 24, Macron said he was not suggesting sending foreign troops to Libya, adding: “It’s not about declaring war, Libya is a state in political transition… but there’s reinforced police action that needs to be done to dismantle those networks.”
— Federica Mogherini (@FedericaMog) November 29, 2017
A joint press release on the meeting said “They agreed to establish a joint EU-AC-UN Task Force to save and protect the lives of migrants and refugees on the main routes and, in particular, within Libya, and to accelerate their voluntary return to countries of origin and provide international protection to those in need. This activity will be based on the expansion and acceleration of the current work carried out by the countries of origin of migrants and IOM with EU funding, which has so far enabled the voluntary return of 13,000 migrants to their countries of origin since January.”
The work of the task force is to be coordinated with the ‘recognized’ 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.
“The United Nations, the African Union and the European Union have agreed to systematically update their tripartite cooperation and meet regularly at the highest political level, especially in the fields of the UN General Assembly,” the European Commission reported.
The issue of migration via the country has spiked since 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.