‘Even poverty is better than migration torture’ – Archbishop of Dakar

“Please, dear young people, it is we who will build our country, it is up to us to develop it.
No one else will do it for us.”
– Archbishop Benjamin Ndiaye, Dakar Diocese, Senegal

Writing in La Croix International, Charles Senghor reports on the comments of Archbishop Benjamin Ndiaye of Dakar in Senegal who has expressed his views on the slave trade of black migrants in Libya. 

Slave auction secretly filmed by CNN

As we have reported on the SMA website, the American television news network CNN broadcast on November 15, 2017, a video exposing the existence of a black slave market in Libya. The video aroused anger and indignation in Senegal.

Amongst those who spoke out was Archbishop Benjamin Ndiaye, the Archbishop of Dakar, who offered his view on the issue on Saturday, November 25, following the ordination of five new priests for the Dakar archdiocese.

The images of the auction of the migrants by Libyan traffickers for sums ranging from 500 to 700 Libyan dinars or up to 435 euros which were broadcast by CNN on November 15, “moved” him deeply, he said.

When will the suffering of black people come to an end?

“It made me think of the song by Senegalese musician Ismaël Lô who asks when the suffering of blacks will ever come to an end.” However, collective responsibility for the problem should not be overlooked, Archbishop Ndiaye continued.

“It is true that blacks live in an unjust situation but we need to evaluate our own degree of responsibility. We have no right to allow these immigration channels to continue to exist when we know how they are established. This really needs to be stopped.”

Archbishop Ndiaye also called on people to work together on the issue.

Religious leaders also need to play a role in offering direction “to act together” on the issue so that young people will be mobilized to develop their country, he said.

Torture

“It is true that we are a poor country but it is better to remain poor in one’s own country than to be tortured for wanting to try out the immigration adventure.”

Such torture is a denial of the humanity of the migrants, he added. “When people don’t eat or when they are bludgeoned, where is their human dignity?”

Raising awareness on the issue is also necessary, the archbishop continued, appealing to “people of influence” to warn young people of the dangers of clandestine immigration.

“Please, dear young people, it is we who will build our country, it is up to us to develop it. No one else will do it for us.”

The President of Ghana, President Akufo-Addo, tweeted on November 28, 2017:

“The current slave auctions of Africans in Libya are not only gross and scandalous abuses of human rights, but are also mockeries of the alleged solidarity of African nations grouped in the African Union (AU), of which Libya is a member.”

It has been reported that some 168 Ghanaian citizens have been sold into slavery in Libya.