Rwanda is offering to give refuge to nearly 30,000 African migrants trapped in Libya, often in enslaved conditions, following an investigation launched by CNN last week.
The investigation showed that many migrants were being auctioned off as farm workers for as little as $400 each.
“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,” Rwanda’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Given our own history… we cannot remain silent when human beings are being mistreated and auctioned off like cattle.”
In 1994, more than 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda by ethnic Hutu extremists while most countries did little to help.
Indeed, Rwanda's political philosophy & the experience of many Rwandans for many years not having a country they call home, have led this country to feel for refugees, migrants,stateless persons…For #Africans being sold in Libya: #Rwanda is small, but we will find some space! https://t.co/5Yf95Bdulj
— Louise Mushikiwabo (@LMushikiwabo) November 22, 2017
Rwanda’s offer followed a call by the AU (African Union) for help across the continent:
“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,” said AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat 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.”