Merkel and Macron against Libyan slave trade
On the fringes of the EU-Africa summit Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron have met with the leaders of Libya, Chad and Niger to work out a plan for combating the slave trade in refugees. One aspect involves repatriating thousands of refugees currently living in Libyan camps. Commentators are indignant.
Europe has a duty to help
The Frankfurter Rundschau is surprised by the EU leaders' sudden dismay over the conditions in Libya:
“Why now? What new crimes must be perpetrated for the Europeans to rekindle the humanitarian values they once committed to? But the African leaders must also face questions about their responsibility. ... And what happens to those who have the misfortune to be enslaved in other parts? The concept of sending as many of these desperate people as possible back to their home country speaks volumes. We are talking about grave crimes against humanity here. The goal must be to quickly rescue people who have ended up in hellish circumstances. It is also the Europeans' duty to do this.”
Only a new migration policy can help
Macron's demands aren't exactly constructive, Thierry Allafort-Duverger, general-director of the French section of Doctors Without Borders, writes in Le Monde:
“What did Emmanuel Macron expect his call in Abidjan for human trafficking networks to be neutralised by army and police in the country to achieve? Another foreign military intervention would only reinforce the spiral of violence in Libya. ... Fighting the smugglers without proposing legal alternatives for migrating or fleeing the continent is a dead end. Above and beyond momentary actionism, we are sorely in need of a real change in Europe's migration policy. Every action that helps minimise the suffering of those who are going through hell must be encouraged. But above all the factors that worsen the suffering must be eliminated.”