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27 Nov 2017
DECLARATION BY THE PAN-AFRICAN COUNCIL OF THE UNITED CITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS OF AFRICA ON THE PRACTICE OF SLAVERY IN LIBYA

DECLARATION BY THE PAN-AFRICAN COUNCIL OF THE UNITED CITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS OF AFRICA ON THE PRACTICE OF SLAVERY IN LIBYA

1. The members of the Pan-African Council of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) meeting on the 25th of November 2017 in Grand Bassam, Côte d'Ivoire, were shocked by a number of media reports showing the existence of markets in Libya where Sub-Saharan African migrants are sold as slaves.

 

2. Like all persons who believe in justice and equal dignity of human beings, the members of the UCLG Africa Pan-African Council vehemently condemn these practices, which reminds them of a past they believed forever gone.

 

3. The members of the Pan-African Council of UCLG Africa call on the Libyan authorities to put an end to these practices with immediate effect, and call on the African Union to condemn such practices against the said authorities and to suspend them from any activity of the African Union until they provide evidence of the end of such practices of slavery in Libya.

 

4. The members of the Pan-African Council of UCLG Africa however recall that the origin of this unfortunate situation is on the one hand, the decision by the European Union to drastically restrict the migratory flows from Africa; and on the other hand the inability of African states to provide a viable future for their youths.

 

5. The members of the Pan-African Council of UCLG Africa call on the European Union to revise its narrative on migration and review its restrictive migration policy, which encourages the explosion of illegal migration networks in the Mediterranean countries of Africa. European Union funding for the establishment of the migrant detention camps creates the conditions for abuse and violation of human rights which the European Union cannot exculpate themselves from. Moreover, the policy of forceful repatriation of  migrants that the European Union pursues including using financial incentives (more for more principle) and the restriction of movement of migrants repatriated in the host countries goes against the free movement of people advocated for by the African Union and the African Regional Economic Communities.

 

6. The African states on their part have been unable to curb or manage migration flows on the continent because the economic policies implemented have proved unable to generate enough jobs for the youths. It is therefore not surprising that these young people seek to emigrate to improve their living conditions. Without questioning development models that have been followed so far, it is unlikely that African states can give hope to their young people. Climate change offers an opportunity for these states to embark on the path of energy, ecological, political and social transition, which offers many opportunities for the creation of economic activities and jobs. The use of new technologies one of the areas of excellence of young people offers interesting prospects for boosting investment and economic activity on the continent, on the express condition that young men and women are encouraged and supported in their initiatives and that from now on they are better involved in the management of public affairs.

 

7. One of the causes of the inefficiency observed in the management of migration is that States and the international community, including the European Union, have made a mistake in their assessment of the actors that should be involved in the management of migration. Most migrants leave a local government area to settle in another local government area in Africa or outside Africa. In other words, local authorities are at the forefront of the reception of migrants as well as the management of tensions and conflicts related to migration. The contribution of the diaspora remittances to economic and social development in their countries of origin is also important as they now exceed the annual amount of official development assistance.

 

8. The members of the UCLG Africa Pan-African Council call on the protagonists of migration management, especially in Europe, to systematically involve local and regional governments in the continent in any program or project concerning migrants from Africa. They recommend that the theme of migration be tackled from a developmental perspective and not just one of security, as has been the case so far. They insist that the right to come and go, which is a provision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is effectively respected by all States.

 

9. The members of the Pan-African Council of UCLG Africa ask the local government communities of the continent to adhere to the Charter on Migrants adopted by the mayors and the elected local officials of Africa during the 7th edition of the Africities Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in December 2015.

 

10. The members of the Pan-African Council call on all the active  forces of the continent to join them in pressing on public authorities in Africa, as well as in Europe and other parts of the world, not to stay silent about the unacceptable situation of Sub-Saharan African migrants in Libya but also in some European countries.

 

Done in Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire, November 25, 2017

The members of the Pan-African Council of UCLG Africa