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France seeks UNSC meeting on migrants in Libya

French Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian seen at a press conference in Doha, Qatar on July 15, 2017 [Mohamed Farag / Anadolu Agency]
French Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian [Mohamed Faraq/Anadolu Agency]

France has called for a United Nations Security Council meeting on the treatment of migrants in Libya and will seek sanctions if Libyan authorities do not take action, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said today.

Le Drian said he wanted the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency to publish details about the trafficking of migrants in the country.

“Libyan authorities, who have been alerted several times, including by myself because I was there in September, have decided to open an investigation into the facts,” Le Drian said.

“We want it to go fast and if the Libyan justice system cannot carry this procedure through then we should open international sanctions,” Le Drian said during a question and answer session at the lower house of French parliament.

Read: Seven bodies found in migrant boat off Libya

Thousands of refugees and migrants have taken advantage of the unrest in Libya in an attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. Many suffer abuse along the way.

Footage aired on CNN showed migrants being offered for sale in an auction, which stirred up angry reactions in Africa and among United Nations circles.

The mobile phone footage shows two young men being auctioned off. Next, the CNN narrator comments that the two were sold for 1,200 Libyan dinars, equivalent to $876.

#MigrantCrisis 

“Migrants are sold on the market as if they were a commodity,” the head of the IOM in Libya, Othman Belbeisi, explained earlier this year. “Trafficking in human beings is becoming more common among smugglers, whose networks are increasingly powerful in Libya,” he added.

The Libyan Government of National Accord announced it will launch a probe into report.

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