Ethiopia has finalized preparations to issue travel documents to the country’s migrants in Libya, following reports of migrants sold in “slave markets” in the North African nation, a senior official said on Thursday.The spokesperson at Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Meles Alem, said the government has already identified areas where Ethiopian migrants reside, and the repatriation process will be conducted in the near future in partnership with international organizations.
“The first task was to gather information about the situation of Ethiopian migrants in Libya through Ethiopia’s embassy in Cairo. Significant areas of Libyan territory are being governed by war-lords, while the government controls only a small portion. This condition has made our efforts of reaching out to our migrants difficult, but more or less the locations of Ethiopian migrants have been identified,” Meles said.
According to Meles, the Ethiopian authorities are working to identify the number of Ethiopians in Libya, and the next step will be to issue travel documents and repatriate them.
It would be recalled that the recent AU-EU summit in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, passed a decision to take individual and collective measures, if the Libyan authorities fail to take immediate measures against the “slave trade”.
The summit also drew up an urgent evacuation plan for migrants in Libyan detention camps.
According to the African Union (AU), at least 20,000 migrants are being held in government detention centers in Libya.