Koenders revisits cases on smuggling in Libya, calls UN to sanction offenders

Foreign Minister, Bert Koenders, has been reported to call out on United Nations, to consider instituting sanctions on smuggling and trafficking. This was reported in a press release from the Government of the Netherlands as distributed by African Press Organisation.

The report stated that the foreign minister thinks that “The United Nations should deploy sanctions in the fight against people smuggling and trafficking via Libya.” And that “placing the leaders of the criminal organisations involved in people smuggling on a sanctions list would make it possible to freeze their financial assets and to prohibit any economic support for these organisations.”
Mr Koenders explained that “sanctions of this kind would help undermine the business model of these criminals.” He added that their interest must be to fight violations of human rights in Libya.

“What’s more, our aim in Libya is not only to get the flow of migrants under control, but also to combat the gross violations of human rights increasingly being suffered by those smuggled into the country,” the foreign minister said.

In addition to the underlying report, the release stated that “More and more migrants heading for Europe are finding themselves living in deplorable circumstances and falling victim to violence, rape and forced labour.” Therefore, “The Netherlands is working with other countries to examine the feasibility of sanctions, ideally imposed by the UN Security Council, on human traffickers active in and around Libya.”

Mr Koenders confirmed this in the report, Mr Koenders was quoted saying “It will require a careful approach since sanctions are a very severe measure.” Also according to the foreign minister, the situation “demands an urgent response.” Because “Many migrants are still risking their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, partly because of the activities of the people smugglers.” And “Unfortunately many of these migrants lose their lives in doing so.”

Today Mr Koenders is attending a migration conference in Rome, to step up cooperation in the area of migration along this route. ‘The priority now is for the various European and African countries to work together more effectively and take measures to better manage the flow of migrants, safeguard human rights and curtail the activities of the people smugglers. The Netherlands has a role to play here too. Sanctions are part of that,’ said the foreign minister.

On Friday and Saturday Mr Koenders will join Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the G20 summit in Hamburg, where measures in the area of migration will be discussed. Here too, the Netherlands will advocate a broad approach to dealing with the migration route across the Mediterranean.

Correspondent: Olayiwola A. Ridwan

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