The Gambian government needs to do more to ensure that the human rights of its citizens in Libya and elsewhere are respected

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The Gambian government needs to do more to ensure that the human rights of its citizens in Libya and elsewhere are respected.

Dear Mr Mbai,

Right now, the international community is making a huge noise with regard to the upheaval of illegal migration which, according to some, is affecting the resources of major economies around the world.  However, in my opinion, criminals who continue to enslave African migrants in Libya ought to be the primary concern. In the past few days, I noticed that major news outlets and users of social media are distracting people from this important topic to other less significant political matters (such as the “fire and fury” concerning the psyche of Donald Trump and the recent scuffle between the supporters of different political parties in the Gambia).

According to IMO, the lives of thousands of migrants are currently at risk from gangs across Libya.  I am begging the international community to continue this discussion and strive to be more vocal to ensure that this immoral practise in Libya and elsewhere is immediately ceased.

In a civilised society, there should never be any correlation between Illegal migration and enslaving innocent people against their wills. Illegal migration is a major problem which profoundly requires its own discussions and its own solution. But enslaving human beings against their will is categorically wrong under any circumstances. Regardless of your culture, common sense would dictate that an ambitious youth who is both hopeless and desperate, trying to migrate elsewhere and hoping for a better future, does not deserve to be enslaved!

As I stated in my last article, the moral obligation to tackle and prevent such a heinous crime is not only confined to the EU and AU, but rather a moral obligation on each and every one of us.

Situations such as this often require both short-term and long-term solutions. I would suggest the following four steps:

  1. There is a moral obligation on families and friends to discourage their love ones from using the ‘back way’ through Libya or Morocco which are the main hubs for enslaving African migrants right now. And they ought to encourage family members who are stranded in these two countries to immediately return home at the first available chance.
  2. 2. There is a moral obligation on people like me to make sure that we continue the discussion concerning this matter every day until slavery is stopped.
  3. 3. There is a moral obligation on us to participate whenever there are public demonstrations to draw the attention of the international community and put extra pressure on authorities in order for them to do more, like the demonstrations we have witnessed in the streets of London, Paris, New York and in Africa.
  4. I understand that the Gambia’s government cannot use the migrant crisis in Libya and Europe as a bargaining chip to solicit more aid from the European Union. However, if the Gambia government hasn’t made any deal yet concerning the migrant crisis with the EU, as they claimed last week, then they have a moral duty to appeal to EU countries to grant temporary working visas for at least two years to Gambian migrants who went Europe through the ‘back way’ and are now illegally scattered across Europe, before enforcing any deportation.

    While suggesting these short- term solutions, I think it’s extremely important for me to also point out and emphasis that the EU, like any continent, has a moral obligation to respect the concerns of its citizens regarding issues surrounding migrants. In addition to that, they have the legal right to remove anyone from their country if they wish, particularly those who they see as illegal immigrants. We have to understand that whatever help the EU might offer African countries concerning this matter would purely be based on humanitarian grounds. They don’t have any legal obligation whatsoever to allow illegal migrants to stay.

As a migrant living in Europe, there is a moral obligation on all of us to recognise that allowing us to remain in mainland Europe is a privilege. It is not an entitlement or a God-given right. As a result, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that we always maintain peace and tranquillity in European society.

Migrants who were lucky enough to make it to Europe, after escaping slavery in Libya should come forward and share their experience with the wider world in order to enlighten those who might be tempted to embark on such a reckless journey. Migrants should also acknowledge the generosity which is always accorded to them by Europeans. They rescue migrants from the peril of the open sea and show them love and kindness, which brings many a step closer to fulfilling a meaningful life in Europe. In my view, showing such appreciation would effectively ridicule the allegations and misconception of those who often claim that the EU is secretly collaborating with Arab gangs in Libya to enslave African migrants in the country.

After all, please remember that, we were all created equal. No man is a slave to another man.

Written By Yaya Sillah

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