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Migrants sold as slaves in Libya: after Italian input, UNSC adopts Presidential Statement

NEW YORK, DECEMBER 7 – In a Presidential Statement adopted today, the UN Security Council expressed grave concern about reports of migrants being sold into slavery in Libya. Italy played a key role in the drafting of the document which condemns such actions as “heinous abuses of human rights which may also amount to crimes against humanity”. In the Statement the Security Council calls upon all relevant authorities to investigate such activities without delay to bring the perpetrators to justice and hold those responsible to account.

The Security Council welcomes in this regard the work of UNSMIL in coordination and supporting humanitarian assistance through UNCR and IOM. It also welcomes the statement by the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya denouncing trafficking in persons, including for the purpose of slavery, inside or outside Libya, and notes that the GNA has launched an investigation into the reported incidents and committed to hold those responsible for these actions to account. The Council also welcomes the statements by the African Union calling for an immediate end to these practices and welcomes the UN Secretary-General’s request for the relevant United Nations actors to actively pursue this matter.

The Security Council reaffirms its support for the United Nations’ Action Plan for Libya, reiterates its call for all Libyans to work together in a spirit of compromise in the inclusive political process facilitated by Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ghassan Salami, and emphasizes that a stable Libya is the only way to help improve the living conditions of all people in Libya, including migrants.

The Security Council reiterates concern at the smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons, including through Libya, and welcomes the work of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) in coordinating and supporting the provision of humanitarian assistance for refugees and migrants through the United Nations Country Team, particularly the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

In the statement the Security Council further underlines the need for coordination of efforts to tackle the root causes of large movements of people, including forced displacement, unmanaged migration and trafficking in persons, in a comprehensive and holistic manner, to prevent exploitation of refugees and migrants by smugglers and human traffickers, as well as for implementation of the 2030 agenda.

The Security Council underlines the importance of a comprehensive response for all migrants in Libya and strengthened international cooperation with the Libyan authorities.

The Security Council emphasizes that all migrants should be treated with humanity and dignity and that their rights should be fully respected, and urges the Libyan authorities and all Member States in this regard to comply with their obligations under international law, including international human rights law and international refugee law, as applicable.

The Security Council stresses the need to transfer detainees to State authorities and encourages the Libyan authorities to reinforce their cooperation with international organizations and UN agencies and to ensure humanitarian access to detention centres.

The Security Council recalls its resolution 1970 (2011) and notes that individuals and entities planning, directing, or committing, acts that violate applicable international human rights law or international humanitarian law, or acts that constitute human rights abuses, in Libya, may be subject to designation by the Sanctions committee established by resolution 1970 (2011).

The Security Council also reiterates concern at the implications for regional stability posed by transnational organized crime and illicit activities such as trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants and calls upon Member States to step up their efforts to investigate, disrupt and dismantle networks engaging in trafficking in persons in areas affected by armed conflict and to take all appropriate measures to collect, preserve and store evidence of human trafficking to help hold those responsible accountable, and assist victims of human trafficking, and in this regard calls on the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, within its existing mandates, to provide technical assistance to Member States on their request.

The Security Council further recalls its resolutions 2331 (2016) and 2388 (2017) on trafficking of persons in conflict situations which recognise that the various forms of exploitation can include slavery and practices similar to slavery. The Security Council also reiterates its call to Member States to consider, as a matter of priority, ratifying or acceding to, and for States Parties to effectively implement, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementary Protocols, in particular the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.

The Security Council calls on all Member States to implement effectively the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons and for the UN to step up its efforts including through the Inter-Agency Coordination Group Against Trafficking in Persons.

The Security Council encourages cooperation between the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations to protect the lives of migrants and refugees along migration routes and in particular inside Libya.

The Security Council further reiterates the need to place prevention and protection of victims of trafficking, including for the purpose of slavery, at the centre of the national and international response, including through the strengthening of identification, registration, gender and age-sensitive assistance, and services for the physical, psychological and social recovery care for those who are victims of trafficking, as well as to strengthen

Member State and UN assessment where appropriate of those who are vulnerable to trafficking in persons, and further encourages Member States, especially transit and destination States, to develop and use early warning and early screening frameworks.

The Security Council welcomes ongoing efforts by Members States and regional organisations to assist Libya, on request, in building capacity including to secure its borders and to prevent, investigate and prosecute acts of smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons through its territory. (@OnuItalia)

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Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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