A non-governmental organisation, NBM of Africa Worldwide, has condemned what it described as the horrific treatment meted out to sub-Saharan Africans, who fail to make it to Europe through the Mediterranean sea, in Libya.
The failed migrants, they said, are herded into Libyan detention facilities and the Libyans and some European countries who cooperate with them are culpable for these violations.
In a statement, its Public Relations Officer, Mr. Oluwatosin Dixon, lamented that while countless cases of sexual violence against desperate black African men, women and children migrants are documented, little or nothing is being done to check the trend.
The group mentioned the report by Amnesty International which slammed Libya and some European countries for their alleged complicity in the horrific abuse of migrants.
Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, had called the rights group’s new report “horrifying”.
In the report dated July 15, Amnesty said new evidence has emerged of abuse, including sexual violence, against men, women and children intercepted at sea and forcibly returned to detention centres in Libya.
Amnesty, in the 50-page report, condemned “the ongoing complicity of European states” for cooperating with the authorities in war-torn Libya.
According to the report, by the end of 2020, Libya’s Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration had “legitimised” abuses by taking over two detention centres, including Tripoli’s Shara al-Zawiya Centre, run by armed groups from where hundreds of refugees and migrants had forcibly disappeared.
Both Pope Francis and the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres have called for the closure of those facilities.
Amnesty cited survivors’ testimonies from one facility, of guards subjecting women to sexual violence “in exchange for their release or for essentials such as clean water,” or their freedom.
Two young women at the facility attempted suicide as a result of such abuse, while others, including boys, described being groped, prodded and violated, Amnesty said.
“These horrific treatment meted on Nigerian and other African immigrants has been going on over years.
“We challenge African leaders to live up to their obligations to their people and view these as a direct assault and blight on the continent.
“We upbraid African leaders and ask for how long are we going to sit and blame others for our travails?
“This trend from the latest report could spell worse scenarios in years ahead for the continent, and as such the leaders must accept that misrule fuels mass migration in search for greener pastures.”
According to the International Organization for Migration, IOM, nearly 900 migrants have died this year trying to reach Europe from North Africa.
Also, the UNHCR said the coastguard brought back more than 13,000 people to Libya between January and June this year, surpassing the number in the whole of 2020.
The NBM, therefore, called on African rulers to shun misrule which it asserted gives rise to “very poor standards of living and also strive to enthrone equality and justice when distributing resources and entitlements.
“Lack of equality and justice leads to civil strife. Poverty and civil strife are the major drivers of migration in Africa,” it added.