Human trafficking, slavery reports and health of migrants in Libya

Endorsed content of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations

Muammar Qadhafi 017

Muammar Qadhafi addressing the 64th session of the General Assembly on 23 September 2009. Muammar Gaddafi, the deposed leader of Libya, was captured and killed on 20 October 2011. (UN News Center, 2011)

Grave violations of the human rights of migrants along migration pathways, including abuse, extortion, rape and even murders, were for years at the spotlight of the international and national actors, such as the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), The International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and more. However, only after the shocking footage of slave trade in Libya, recently released by the CNN news channel, the horrifying, yet neglected issue received widespread international attention.

The alarming reality of migrants´ suffering, while desperately searching for a chance of better lives, is a combination of various factors, including the absence of international policies and agreements on safe, regular and orderly migration, limited capacity of national and international actors to protect people’s rights, and the inability to proactively initiate protective measures. General insecurity in various countries fuels the presence of armed groups, which have enough space to operate on a large scale. Above all, the failure, and in some cases the refusal, to install the human rights based approach throughout all the stages of a migration process makes it impossible to enact functioning measures to protect people´s dignity, rights and freedoms.

Grievous violations of migrants’ human rights are not limited to Libya. Throughout the course of the so called  “migration crisis”, reports of such violations come from all the countries connected to migration processes. People on the move are often denied basic human rights, including access to social and health services. Those rights are universal and as such, should be respected and granted regardless of the individual’s legal status. Lack of safe and legal migration routes flourish various forms of human trafficking, organised crime and abuse of  people on the move, including different forms of exploitation and slavery, which have detrimental effects on the health of the victims and survivors of human trafficking.

Clear absence of international cooperation, people-centered policies and political will to collectively and constructively approach the situation conserve the current status quo, which further deteriorates the lives of people on the move. Scarce resources of the most affected countries often lead to limited capacity of official actors to adequately respond to people’s needs. Controversial policies and approaches which prioritize short term benefits of several stakeholders over the protection of basic human rights and effective prevention of humanitarian crisis, shift the responsibility to the most affected countries, instead of the collective and organised solution.

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) severely condemns any form of human rights’ violations, including human trafficking and slavery, and recognizes the harmful consequences it has on the victims and survivors’ mental, physical, sexual and reproductive health. IFMSA believes that every individual regardless of their legal status has the right to the best attainable standard of health. Accordingly, migrants should be able to access the same standard of health and social services as any other person, and proactive measures should be taken to meet the specific health needs of this vulnerable group. Therefore, we call on all involved actors, especially governments and International agencies to:

  • respect international human rights and humanitarian laws by ensuring that the rights of people on the move are respected and that they are treated with dignity and without discrimination and arbitrary detention;
  • fully investigate all claims of human rights violations, including but not limited to human trafficking, sexual violence, slavery and murders, and bring perpetrators to justice;
  • provide funding and resources aimed at improving infrastructure and ability to cope with large influxes of people on the move, and implement prevention measures to protect people from human rights violations; including but not limited to human trafficking, sexual violence, slavery and murders;
  • establish, reinforce and monitor comprehensive national and international migration policies that respect human rights, are multi-sectoral, participatory and inclusive for migrants and civil society, the private sector, and other key actors and that are based on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the extension of Universal Health Coverage (UHC);
  • create and promote safe and legal routes that people who need protection can access, in order to reach the country and apply for asylum without endangering their lives;
  • in countries of origin, encourage the implementation of regulatory steps to increase awareness of the risks of human trafficking, especially among individuals intending to migrate;
  • decrease the negative health outcomes of detention by limiting such procedures to the minimal possible extent, to never engage in indefinite detention, to never detain children, and to ensure alternatives to detention are fully explored.

About the IFMSA

 The International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) envisions a world in which medical students unite for global health and are equipped with the knowledge, skills and values to take on health leadership roles locally and globally. Founded in 1951, it is one of the world’s oldest and largest student-run organizations. It represents, connects and engages every day with an inspiring and engaging network of 1.3 million medical students from 136 national member organizations in 127 countries around the globe.







the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EU plans pan-European network of cybersecurity services

These countries are leading the charge to clean energy

Devastating storms like Hurricane Florence ‘unusual this far north’: UN weather agency

Commission and ECB prepare new financial mega-tool in support of SMEs

How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions

‘Exercise restraint’ Guterres urges Sri Lankans, as political crisis deepens

The AI doctor won’t see you now

80 million Chinese people no longer pay income tax

Franchise India 2016, returns in 14th year 

As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70 – is it time for a new approach?

Why the most important tool in healthcare is trust

8 things we need to do to tackle humanitarian crises in 2019

How Cameron unwillingly helped Eurozone reunite; the long-term repercussions of two European Council decisions

Trump: Hostile to Europe, voids Tillerson’s “ironclad” ally pledge

Act now to end violence, Zeid urges Nicaraguan authorities

World Television Day celebrates an integral part of modern life

A renewed agenda for Research and Innovation: Europe’s chance to shape the future

This farmer is saving the jungle by growing food in it

Celebrating Gaston Ramon – the vet who discovered vaccinology’s secret weapon

Portugal wants its emigrants back – so it’s paying them to return

G20 LIVE: G20 leaders reaffirm OECD’s role in ensuring strong, sustainable and inclusive growth

There is huge talent in the world’s refugee camps. We must realize this overlooked potential

Service and Sacrifice: Guinean peacekeepers make their mark in Mali

How building renovations can speed up the electric vehicle revolution

How Germany strives to mold ECB’s monetary policy to her interests

UN chief calls for ‘far greater support’ for Cyclone Idai response

G20 GDP growth nudges up to 1.0% in the second quarter of 2018

How India’s new consumers can contribute to a $6 trillion opportunity

How China raised the stakes for electric vehicles

Teaching medical ethics and technology: Are our future doctors prepared for this merger?

A Sting Exclusive: why the environment is important to your health, by UNEP’s Head for Europe

“Hasta la vista” Google says to Spain and now Europe is next?

Finnish Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

EU’s guidelines on net neutrality see the light although grey areas do remain

Alarming level of reprisals against activists, human rights defenders, and victims – new UN report

COP21 Breaking News_10 December: the final sprint of the Final Agreement Negotiations

Why home is the least safe place to be a woman

Reading this alone? Recent surveys reveal the curious truth about loneliness

Central Africa Republic: Violence drives thousands of refugees into neighbouring DR Congo, says UN agency

State aid: Commission approves German scheme for very high capacity broadband networks in Bavaria

European Youth calls on European Council for urgent action on “humanitarian crisis” and questions the EU/Turkey deal respect of human rights

New Syria fighting represents ‘giant powder keg’, warns aid veteran, as he leaves UN stage

A new roadmap for corporate climate governance

Drought in Europe: the Commission offers further support to European farmers

How do we build an ethical framework for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

A few, or rather two, trade and economic alliances may rule our brave new world

The EU invites the US and Russia to partition Ukraine

ECB to support only banks not Peoples

MEPs urge the EU to lead the way to net-zero emissions by 2050

Make progress or risk redundancy, UN chief warns world disarmament body

Towards a zero tobacco public space in Cameroon

As human caravan moves through Mexico, ‘full respect’ needed for national control of borders: UN chief

Trump ostracized by his party and world elites but still remains in course; how can he do it?

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Syrian detainees, Zimbabwe hunger crisis, Kabul attack, Mexico disappearances, new tech to feed the world

The Syrian knot cannot be cut without devastating consequences

UN expert condemns new sentence for jailed Venezuelan judge as ‘another instance of reprisal’

UN chief urges ‘maximum restraint’ following policy shift over northeastern Syria

Women vital for ‘new paradigm’ in Africa’s Sahel region, Security Council hears

Nokia wins Commission’s approval for Alcatel-Lucent acquisition: a new way for antitrust cases?

No agreement in sight on EU budget

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s