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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #279 - Libya: Slavery: European and French responsibilities (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]
Wed, 14 Feb 2018 11:34:51 +0200
Migrants and migrant women from Africa who are stuck waiting for passage in Europe are
subjected to torture, ill-treatment, rape and slavery in Libya. These abominations are
allowed by a safe and criminal European migratory policy, but also the " chaos " of
Libya and the " solutions " put in place to remedy it. This situation masks the
responsibilities in France and in Europe. When is the end ? ---- On November 13, a report
by the American channel CNN triggered a worldwide outrage by showing migrant women sold on
slave markets in Libya. Reactions were lively, as each time a shock image comes to
highlight the inhuman conditions experienced for many years by the vast majority of people
who emigrate to Europe. In Libya in particular, the situation of migrants and migrants
from Africa who are stuck waiting for a visit to Europe is appalling for a long time, as
evidenced by several NGOs and international organizations who had already alerted about
possible case of slavery and more generally on torture, ill-treatment, kidnapping, rape ...
Currently there are between 400,000 and 700,000 refugees from Africa in Libya. According
to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), about 15,000 are believed to be
held in Libyan government-controlled centers, but many more are locked up in illegal
detention centers run by militias and traffickers.
A safe and criminal migration policy
In some official reactions, African countries have been singled out as responsible for the
situation because they are unable to prevent the emigration of their nationals and to
protect them. Emmanuel Macron, during his speech in Burkina Faso, spoke of a " trafficking
made by Africans against other Africans ". But European responsibilities, whether in the
overall situation of migrant people or in relation to the specific situation in Libya,
have been completely eluded.
For twenty years, the European migration policy has been based mainly on the " fight
against illegal immigration " through the closing of borders, and on an increasingly
restrictive approach to so-called " legal " immigration routes . It is from the attacks
of September 11, 2001 that the security turning point takes place. In 2004, for the first
time, an official European text establishes a link between the security of the European
Union (EU) and immigration , and that's when the Frontex agency is created, equipped
with growing military means to monitor the borders. In 2008, European legislation allowed
and thus generalized the confinement of migrants for their return to their country of
origin. And in recent years border controls have intensified, with the deployment of
important technological means (sensors on the coast, surveillance drones, satellites). At
the same time, increased cooperation with the countries of origin and transit of migrants
is intended to facilitate the return of expellees, to delegate border control to these
countries and to force them to retain their nationals. Latest idea, sorting centers
created directly in Africa .
Such a policy produces effects that are the opposite of what the so-called humanist
discourses of the EU and France are calling for. It makes migratory routes increasingly
dangerous, and therefore more and more deadly, and contributes to the expansion and
enrichment of smuggling networks, which have become essential for migrants seeking to
This is especially true in the case of Libya, where the EU is assisting the various Libyan
authorities to stop the departure of migrants at any cost, even though some of these
authorities have militias in their ranks .
In particular, Italy is working with the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept and return
migrant and migrant boats to Libya and has signed an agreement with 14 Libyan mayors
promising them access to European funds in return for a increased fight against
trafficking and ultimately against immigration. As a result, Libyan mayors themselves have
reached an agreement with the trafficked militias by providing equipment and finances to
keep migrants on Libyan soil . This approach of Italy was greeted by France, Macron
judging that it was the " perfect example of what we wish to reach " .
Today it is this policy that results in hundreds of thousands of migrants being stranded
in Libya in a situation of great vulnerability. Note that it is not new, since haggling
between Italy and Libya already existed at the time of Gaddafi.
Libyan " chaos " conducive to such a situation
The instability that reigns in Libya today is also one of the factors of the development
of the militias and the traffics and allows the exploitation of the migrants and migrants
behind closed doors. European countries, and in particular France, are far from being
foreign to this situation. In 2011, Nato's military intervention in Libya, led by France
and the United Kingdom and motivated by Western interests, plunged the country into chaos
and destabilized the entire sub-region over the long term. The fall of Gaddafi also led to
the liberation of racism from the black population of Libya, likened to African
mercenaries recruited by Gaddafi in his army. Following denunciations of slavery, the EU,
the UN and the African Union (AU) are calling for a political solution to bring stability
back to Libya, In parallel, France continues to play a troubling diplomatic game. Libya is
currently divided between two governments, one - the Libyan government of national unity -
imposed by the UN and the other - the forces of General Haftar - challenging the
legitimacy of the first. While it is supposed to support the choice of the UN to which it
has also contributed, France supports in parallel General Haftar with a mission of the
Service Action of the DGSE (secret services). With such French interference, peace in
Libya seems far away and official speeches particularly hypocritical.
The Libyan case leads us to go back a little further along the migratory routes and to
question the reasons why migrant migrants from Africa leave their countries. The
colonization and the pursuit of this imperialist policy by Françafrique or by other
foreign interference deprived the African peoples of their political and economic
sovereignty and therefore of their ability to build a future in decent and dignified
Given these European and French responsibilities, we could not expect much from the
solutions announced since the broadcast of CNN's report.
Solutions that suit European countries well
A special meeting was convened by France on the sidelines of the EU / AU summit in Abidjan
at the end of November. Among the announced measures: an international agreement to carry
out urgent evacuations of African migrants from Libya to their country of origin.
Repatriation to Niger, a country of transit before Libya, has already begun and this
situation has made it possible to bring to the fore the new asylum examination center
opened recently in Niger at the request of France, without that this new stage in the
outsourcing of migration control is not questioned. At no time was there any question of
evacuating refugees to European countries, their desired destination and for which they
endured the hell of Libya, and so the " solution "Found by France finally returns to
repress people in their country of origin.
At the same time, European and national migration policies are becoming even tougher and
the living conditions of migrants in the EU are worsening . A draft European regulation
currently under negotiation proposes extending the principle of the Dublin Regulation to "
safe " non-European countries, that is to say, to rule inadmissible an asylum
application when the person has transited through a third country considered " safe " by
the EU and to refer that person directly to it. Would be considered " safe " all
neighboring countries of the EU and even countries at war as soon as at least part of the
territory escapes the conflict, as in Libya for example .
The European outrage over slavery in Libya and, more broadly, the situation of migrants in
Africa finally makes it possible to divert attention from the equally scandalous European
practices and laws in the matter.
Marie Bazin (Survival Association)
 Including Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, Cimade, the International
Organization for Migration ...
 The Hague Program.
 " The false good idea of corridors ", Alternative Libertaire, October 2017.
 " Libya, an obscure network of complicities ", Amnesty International Report,
December 12, 2017.
 " The perfect example ", Africa banknotes, editorial of September 2017.
 On the political situation in Libya, see Banknotes of Africa: " Libya: French chaos
", October 2014 ; " Libya, the return of sorcerer's apprentices ", January 2016 ; "
Three dead who do the job ", September 2016 ; " From one war to another ", October 2016.
 " The false good idea of corridors ", Alternative Libertaire, No. 277, October 2017.
 " The devilish European project for asylum seekers ", Mediapart, 28 November 2017.
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