Evacuation planned for migrants in Libya detention camps at AU-EU summit

ANI | Updated: Nov 30, 2017 07:49 IST

Paris [France], Nov 30 (ANI): The summit between European and African leaders, which is underway in Ivory Coast, will be considering a plan for voluntary evacuation of migrants from Libya's government-controlled detention camps.

French President Emmanuel Macron described the abuse of migrants as "a crime against humanity" and said that the European Union and African Union would "launch concrete military and policing action on the ground to dismantle those networks," The Guardian quoted him as saying.

The plan, when implemented, could see up to 15,000 people flown out of Libya, requires the government to allow the United Nation's evacuation planes to land, as well as for source countries to come to a holding centre in Tripoli and take back their citizens.

Migrants without documentation would be held until their case is resolved.

The European Union is likely to provide the funding, which speeds up a voluntary repatriation scheme already being run by the International Organization for Migration.

Opening the summit, the Ivorian president, Alassane Ouattara, said: "Given this wretched drama which recalls the worst hours of human history, I would like to appeal to our sense of responsibility to take all urgent measures to put an end to this practice, which belongs to another age."

Migration was already at the top of the agenda for the first AU-EU summit since 2014, but the footage of markets in Libya injected immediacy into the issue, spurring French government calls at the UN on Tuesday for sanctions against identified traffickers, the closure of migrant detention camps and renewed calls for Europe to accept more African migrants on a managed basis.

More than 3,000 migrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean to Italy this year, it was confirmed this week.

Both Macron, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, have promised to make Africa a priority, but details of EU funds for Africa are often opaque.

President Macron is on a three-day tour of Africa. (ANI)