Forty activists on the platform of Wellbeing Economy Africa Network (WE-Africa) have initiated a seeming global campaign pressing for the prosecution of all those complicit in the alleged dehumanising acts, including slave trade, in Libya.
They rose from a meeting in Pretoria, South Africa (November 27-29, 2017), with a strong call to put an end to modern day enslavement of migrants and refugees in the troubled North African country.
They also want those involved in the saga to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
Nigeria’s Nnimmo Bassey who made this development known to The Next Edition on Thursday, said WE-Africa is an action-research alliance of like-minded scholars and practitioners who share a common concern about the current socio-economic conditions in which we live and are willing to work together to promote a transition to a wellbeing-based economy for Africa.
According to Bassey who is the Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), an environmental rights advocacy group, ”WE-Africa works to consolidate evidence for change while focusing on building a new economy and promoting alternative development policies.
”WE-Africa recognises that the abominable events in Libya are a culmination of a number of factors, none of which, however, excuses the inhuman acts. Such factors include the fact that most African nations are riddled with conflicts and dependent on wasteful economic policies that do not meet the basic needs of their citizens.
“Some of these refugees were thus seeking an escape from poverty, war, unemployment and environmental destruction. They had already endured the hazards of passing through the hostile Sahara Desert before being held in Libya, with Europe turning a blind eye to such gross human rights violations.
“Their journeys into slavery began as migrants as well as economic, political and climate refugees hoping to make their ways to the Mediterranean coasts of Libya and crossing over to Europe.
”We Africa recognises that facilitating the downfall of regimes through external military intervention without creating the necessary conditions for a democratic transition has created a fertile condition for serious humanitarian disasters and human rights abuses.
“An example is the military intervention in Libya by NATO, which has contributed to the present situation, adding to centuries of colonialism and decades of neo-colonialism that have led to ecological mayhem and rising inequality in Africa.”
Against the backdrop of the Euro-Africa summit taking place in Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire), the activists are calling on the European Union to recall its complicity in what is happening in Libya and not to forget their long-standing relations with Africa, including historical, ecological and climate debts, and ease access to their territory as this would eliminate the power of illicit cartels trading in human misery.
They regret that at a time when economies of African nations are said to be ‘growing’, the social and economic realities of citizens remain abysmal.
Their resolution reads: ”We call on the African Union and African governments to: Request the United Nations Human Rights Commission to conduct a detailed investigation and bring those who are accountable for this terrible and inhuman act to justice; go beyond demanding for a probe of the subhuman treatment being meted to Africans by other Africans on our continent and take an immediate diplomatic and political actions to stop these inhuman acts; to carry out investigations on why their citizens prefer to embark on the hazardous journey to Libya rather than remain in their home countries and to urgently put in place pro-people measures that ensures full employment, security, access to health, education and other social needs.
Also in the resolution is the need to urgently recognise and utilise the rich human resources and gifts of Nature in the continent to derive alternatives pathways to wellbeing, including increased human development indices; question the use of indices such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that give false notions of growth while citizens groan under the weight of unjust and inequitable economic relations and embrace a different approach to development inspired by the concept of ‘Wellbeing Economy’ to build the pathway to an egalitarian future and entrenched in the spirit of Ubuntu.
The group declared: ” We cannot be silent. African governments cannot be silent. Time to act is now!”
The resolution was signed by 40 persons from different countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, Senegal, Uganda, Zimbabwe.