Libyan crisis back on the agenda in Europe - Editorial
2018-02-01 17:00:00 -

The crisis in Libya was a main topic of discussion at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels recently.


Following the controversial removal and killing of dictator Muammar Gaddafi as the direct result of Arab Spring protests of 2011 and subsequent foreign military intervention, Libya has continued to be bedevilled by civil war.


International organisation and political blocs such as the European Union and African Union have acknowledged that tens of thousands of lives have been lost and maimed, with properties worth billions damaged.


While the majority of those who have been affected by the civil war are Libyans, foreign nationals have also been hit very hard. In the last two years, the world has witnessed the most appalling inhumanity in a growing slave trade. It has led the United Nations to call for “urgent action to end [Libya’s] trade in enslaved people.”


In a statement late last year, the UN added it is “clear that slavery is an outrageous reality in Libya. The auctions are reminiscent of one of the darkest chapters in human history, when millions of Africans were uprooted, enslaved, trafficked.” It is therefore right that the EU support efforts towards normalising the country.


While the Libyan authorities are to be blamed for the atrocities against their fellow human beings, Europe is also complicit in the ongoing trafficking of people. “Europe’s paranoia about African migrants enabled the Libyan slave market,” writes


An added complication is US-backed overthrow of Gaddafi without a succession plan – a regret then President Barack Obama said was perhaps the “worst mistake” of his administration.


The EU must go beyond its framework of the Libyan Political Agreement in its support to resolving the crisis. It must also back peace in Libya with adequate human and material resources.


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