African Commission on Human and People’s Rights
P. O. Box 673 Banjul,
Dear Commissioner Soyata Maiga
PETITION TO END SLAVERY IN LIBYA NOW
- We, Members of The Future Group (A Civil Society), numbering 130 Members made up of young men and women largely of African descent with a focus on Pan-Africanism, Mentorship, Social and Economic Justice, Inter-generational Equity and Leadership basing our action on Article 55 of the Charter, wish to present before the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, a Petition for the Commission to Investigate and End Slavery in Libya Now.
NAME: The Future Group
YEAR FORMED: 2014
ADDRESS: No 7, 3rd Asoyi Link, East Legon, Accra-Ghana
TELEPHONE NO: +233 (0) 50480 8059
- GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF THE VIOLATION: Libya
- FACTS CONSTITUTING VIOLATION: Forcefully acquired, tied in ropes and chains, bundled together, valued and sold off; this is the story of fellow Africans in Libya, not of yams in Makola market. Recent reports about the slave markets in Libya are heart wrecking. As young people, we have read and heard stories about slavery and the slave trade. None of us ever thought it could happen in our lifetime. But it is happening, right on African soil. That is the most insulting thing we could ever imagine witnessing.
Slavery and slave trade are very serious crimes against humanity. In light of that, the African Union has enacted many Charters, Protocols, Principles and Treaties to prevent its repeat. Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights states, “every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being and to the recognition of his legal status. All forms of exploitation and degradation of man particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel and inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited”. The first objective of the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance is “to assert the dignity of African men and women as well as the popular foundations of their culture”. Clearly, the Libyan events have tested the resolve behind this objective and the response has been disappointingly lacklustre.
- AGAIN, ARTICLE 4 OF THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS STATES “Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily deprived of this right”. The slaves in Libya have not only been arbitrarily denied this right, their inviolable humanity has been debased and reduced to the level of commodities and put on the market for sale, they are now at the same level as yams and cassava. That is completely unacceptable.
- THESE CHARTERS OF THE AFRICAN UNION IN ADDITION TO THE UN CONVENTION ON SLAVERY, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other protocols are being violated with impunity in Libya. We have heard many speeches, but the situation persists, showing that speeches are not enough. Urgent action is needed.
- URGENCY OF THE CASE: People are dying each day. It is an emergency and requires the immediate attention of the Commission.
- PROVISIONS OF THE CHARTER VIOLATED: Article 1, 2, 3,4, 5, 6, 12 and 16
- NAMES AND TITLES OF GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES WHO COMMITTED THE VIOLATION. The Libyan Government
- WITNESS TO THE VIOLATION: UN Migration Agency Report, The Guardian Online Monday 10 April, 2017, CNN Exclusive Report By Nima Elbagir, Raja Razek, Alex Platt and Bryony Jones
- DOCUMENTARY PROOFS OF THE VIOLATION: See Attached Photographs
- DOMESTIC LEGAL REMEDIES PURSUED: They are not available, efficient and effective
From the foregoing, we, members of the Future Group, Numbering 130 specifically demand the following;
- A full-scale investigation into the atrocities. The investigations should be conducted by a third-party organization, preferably an organ of the African Union. It falls within the purview of the AU Human Rights Commission. We cannot trust any form of authority in Libya to do a diligent work on investigations of this nature. The investigations must establish the slave routes, the nature of the transactions, and the fundamental causes of these activities. Individuals found guilty of these heinous crimes must be punished in accordance with international law.
- A suspension of Libya from AU membership with immediate effect until such a time that the Human Rights Commission is satisfied that the slave markets have been eliminated and the conditions making their existence profitable permanently destroyed. This will raise the profile of the issue and send a clear message that Africans shall not accept any degrading treatment of Africans and show firm commitment to the Charters referred to earlier.
- The victims should be peacefully sent back to their native homes and properly compensated. Counselling should be arranged for them to assuage the psychological torture they have suffered. The compensation should be enough to take care of their medical needs and their sustainable resettlement for the next five years.
- The Libyan authorities should render a public apology to Africans. The activity of the slave traders grossly offends the cultural heritage of the African personality.
- All state parties to the African Union Charter should be reminded of their obligations as signatories of the various Human rights conventions cited above and many others and should be prevailed upon to cut all diplomatic ties with Libya. This should be a major form of protest against what is happening to African nationals on Libyan soil.
As young people, we have no patience for any form of denigration and debasement of the African personality. We demand action, and we demand it now. This Libyan case will show if the African Union is any organization that must be taken seriously.
Humbly submitted and watching closely
Andrew Mensah Bonsu