Rwanda is willing to host up to 30,000 African migrants suffering abuse and slave-like conditions in Libya, the foreign minister said.
Louise Mushikiwabo said that Rwanda is currently in talks with the African Union Commission to determine the entire extent of intervention to the crisis, local online website, the New Times reports.
Rwanda’s intervention comes amid harrowing revelations that the immigrants, most of them from West Africa, are being sold openly in modern-day slave markets in Libya.
Mushikiwabo said Rwanda, despite not having much resource; the country was stepping in to offer logistical support for those willing to return to their countries and also those not willing to return to theirs.
Mushikiwabo said that it would be against national values to turn a blind eye to the plight of the immigrants.
“What I expect and know is that Rwandans will welcome these people. As Rwandans we are sensitive to people who are helpless and have no way of protecting themselves. It is something that is deep in ourselves, we take pride in human beings,” said Mushikiwabo who is also the Government Spokesperson.
Last week a video footage emerged of what is said to be an auction of men offered to Libyan buyers as farmhands and sold for $400. The African Union condemned the act, calling on African countries to help.
“I appeal to all member states of the African Union, the African private sector and African citizens to make financial contributions to help alleviate the suffering of African migrants in Libya,” AU Commission chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat said on Tuesday. “I urge member states that have logistical means to make them available to facilitate the evacuation of African migrants who wish to leave Libya.”
Speaking to AFP Mushikiwabo said that Rwanda, like the rest of the world, was horrified by the images of the tragedy currently unfolding in Libya, where African men, women and children who were on the road to exile, have been held and turned into slaves.
“Given Rwanda’s political philosophy and our own history, we cannot remain silent when human beings are being mistreated and auctioned off like cattle,” she said referring to the 1994 genocide in which around 800,000 mostly Tutsi people were killed while the outside world looked on.
African migrants, mostly from the west and Horn of Africa make the dangerous journey to Libya with hopes of making it across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 8,800 stranded migrants have been returned home this year.
A study by the UNHCR revelled that movements by sea from Libya to Europe, have increased and are likely to rise, despite being the most dangerous route for reaching the continent.