Libya slave auctions may be crime against humanity: UN chief

United Nations Secretary-General of the Antonio Guterres. (AP photo)
Updated 20 November 2017

Libya slave auctions may be crime against humanity: UN chief

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday he was horrified by video footage showing migrants sold as slaves in Libya and that these auctions should be investigated as possible crimes against humanity.
US television network CNN aired the footage last week of an apparent live auction in Libya where black men were presented to North African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400.
“Slavery has no place in our world and these actions are among the most egregious abuses of human rights and may amount to crimes against humanity,” Guterres told reporters.
“I am horrified at news reports and video footage showing African migrants in Libya reportedly being sold as slaves,” he said, adding: “I abhor these appalling acts.”
Guterres called on “all competent authorities” to investigate the slave auctions without delay, adding he had asked the “relevant United Nations actors to actively pursue this matter.”
Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Metig said his UN-backed Government of National Accord would investigate the allegations, in a statement posted Sunday on the Facebook page of the GNA’s press office.
The images have triggered outrage from African leaders and calls for an inquiry.
Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also chairman of the African Union, on Friday called for an inquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a “despicable trade... from another era.”
Senegal’s government expressed “outrage at the sale of Sub-Saharan African migrants on Libyan soil” that constituted a “blight on the conscience of humanity.”
Niger’s president Mahamadou Issoufou said the issue had made him “deeply angry” and urged Libyan authorities and international organizations to do “everything possible to stop this practice.”


Protesters regain control of third bridge in Baghdad

Updated 17 November 2019

Protesters regain control of third bridge in Baghdad

  • Security forces used tear gas and stun bombs to prevent protesters from getting right across Ahrar Bridge in central Baghdad
  • More than 300 people have been killed since the start of mass unrest in Baghdad

BAGHDAD: Iraqi protesters regained control of a third bridge leading to Baghdad’s Green Zone on Sunday, taking further ground in the biggest wave of anti-government demonstrations in decades.
Security forces used tear gas and stun bombs to prevent protesters from getting right across Ahrar Bridge in central Baghdad, part of a weeks-long attempt to disrupt traffic and reach the Green Zone housing government ministry and embassies.
Protesters made a barricade of old cabinets, trash cans and metal sheeting on the bridge while security forces took positions behind blast walls installed to prevent protesters from crossing to the other side. Protesters who choked on the tear gas were evacuated by tuk-tuk, a Reuters cameraman said.
On Saturday, Iraqi demonstrators reoccupied part of adjacent Sinak Bridge and a nearby tall building in Baghdad that security forces had pushed them away from a week before. They have held a third bridge, Jamhuriya, since October 25.
More than 300 people have been killed since the start of mass unrest in Baghdad and southern Iraq in early October, the largest demonstrations since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Protesters are demanding the overthrow of a political class seen as corrupt and beholden to foreign interests.
In Basra in the south, dozens of protesters burned tires and briefly blocked some roads on Sunday, before police managed to restore control and reopen them, police said.
The unrest has shattered the relative calm that followed the defeat of Islamic State in 2017.