The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) has expressed dismay at a recent media report about the sale of African migrants as slaves in the North African nation of Libya.

West African migrants were being sold in modern-day slave markets in Libya, based on information from the International Organization for Migration, a United Nations agency, Reuters and other media organisations have reported.

IHRDA said the practice is in contravention of Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which stipulates that, “Every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being and to the recognition of his legal status. All forms of exploitation and degradation of man particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited.”

It calls on the Libyan Government and the African Union, including the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to investigate the violations and take measures aimed at bringing the perpetrators to justice, as well as ending the phenomenon.