France has called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council over slave-trading in Libya as President Emmanuel Macron condemned the auctioning of Africans as a crime against humanity.
“France decided this morning to ask for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss this issue,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told parliament on Wednesday (22 November).
“We are doing it as a permanent member of the Security Council. We have this capability and we are using it.”
Macron said the auctions, captured in shocking footage aired by US network CNN, were “scandalous” and “unacceptable”.
“It is a crime against humanity,” he said after meeting with African Union chief Alpha Conde in Paris. “I hope we can go much further in the fight against traffickers who commit such crimes, and cooperate with all the countries in the region to dismantle these networks.”
CNN aired footage last week of an apparent auction where black men were presented to Arab buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400.
The video prompted a wave of condemnation, including from many African countries.
The United Nations has said the slavery auctions should be investigated as possible crimes against humanity, and the issue will be on agenda at an African Union-EU summit on 29-30 November in Abidjan.
The European Union has also been criticised for cooperating with the Libyan coastguard in seeking to block migrants from leaving. The UN this month deplored an EU policy of helping the Libyan authorities intercept migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean and return them to “horrific” prisons in Libya.
Adira Kallo with agency report