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A Nigerian interviewed by CNN in a migrant detention centre near Tripoli who revealed that he was sold. The report by the American news channel reveals a Libya where Africans are sold for as little as $400 / Photo: Screenshot CNN

Germany’s Black community protests against Libya’s slave trade

Organisations of people of African descent have called for a public protest against the trade in sub-Saharan migrants in Libya on Saturday, 25 November.

The event, named ‘Demonstration to End the Enslavement, Rape, Torture and Killings of Blacks in Libya’, will take place in front of the Libyan Embassy in Berlin. Organised by, among other organisations, Black Community Hamburg, Lampedusa in Hamburg, Black Lives Matter Berlin, The Voice Forum, Oury Jalloh Initiative and the Central Council of African Organisations in Germany, the action will draw attention to the widespread violation of the human rights of sub-Saharan migrants in the North African country [See details of event below after the article].

Demonstrators will address a petition to the Libyan government, demanding that it ends the despicable practice of enslaving Black people and violating their human rights in the country and release detained migrants so that they can return to their home countries.

A CNN video report broadcast last week, which shows Africans being traded as slaves in Libya, has sparked angry reactions from the global Black community, with the African Union calling for thorough investigations into the issue.

Black organisations from Europe to the US have also been reacting to the report. Persons of African descent trooped out on the streets of Paris on Saturday to protest the despicable trade.

About a thousand people turned up at the protest in front of the Libyan Embassy in Paris following calls by several prominent anti-slavery groups and a number of celebrities of African origin, including soccer star Didier Drogba and former Miss France Sonia Rolland.

About a thousand people turned up at the protest in front of the Libyan Embassy in Paris on Saturday following calls by several prominent anti-slavery groups and a number of celebrities of African origin, including soccer star Didier Drogba and former Miss France Sonia Rolland / Photo© Estelle Ndjandjo:

 

Rights groups have been reporting on the suffering of migrants in Libya for years. The situation has worsened this year as the Libyan government, acting at the behest of the EU, has adopted measures to curtail migrants taking boat journeys across the Mediterranean to Europe. The measures, including the restriction of the activities of rescue organisations in Libya’s waters and a greater patrol of the country’s maritime borders, have led to a dramatic drop in the number of migrant arrivals in Italy. Between August and October 2017, arrivals have dwindled by more than 80 per cent. While that is good news for European politicians, it has made the situation of migrants worse in Libya, which is effectively becoming a dead end for those aspiring to use it as a transit to Europe.

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International organisations estimate that between 800,000 and 1 million migrants are currently in Libya with little prospects of being able to continue their journey to Europe.

In Libya, migrants seeking employment or trapped in transit are exposed to hash living conditions and widespread human rights abuses. Some are traded as slaves for ransom, labour or sex by gangs of human-traffickers and many die in the appalling conditions of detention facilities run by criminals and militias.

International organizations have also published credible reports, documenting regular and severe human rights violations of refugees and migrants in official Detention Centres.

Organisers of the Berlin protest are calling on African and Black organisations to join them “in the defence of Black humanity and dignity”.

Femi Awoniyi

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‘Demonstration to End the Enslavement, Rape, Torture and Killings of Blacks in Libya’

Date and Time: Saturday, 25 November, 1 pm

Location: Embassy of Libya, Podbielskiallee 42, 14195 Berlin

Contacts: Mouctar (0163-1381544), Castro (0177-1761772),  Ali (0157-59177744)

READ ALSO Libya’s slave market revelation sparks global Black outrage

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