KIGALI, Rwanda – Rwanda is offering to host some, perhaps thousands, of the African migrants whose reported abuse in Libya has led to international expressions of revulsion.
Rwanda “cannot remain silent when human beings are being mistreated and auctioned off like cattle,” the government said, adding that the small East African nation “may not be able to welcome everyone but our door is wide open.”
The statement didn’t say how many migrants might be welcome, but the chairman of the African Union Commission said Rwanda has offered to resettle up to 30,000 or transport those who wish to return to their home countries.
The chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat, urged other African governments and private individuals to “pool resources and add the voices to support our brothers and sisters suffering” in Libya.
“Rwanda is small, but we will find some space!” Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo tweeted Wednesday. Her country for nearly a quarter-century has been recovering from its own tragedy, the 1994 genocide that left around 800,000 people dead.
U.N. chief Antonio Guterres has been among world leaders expressing horror after footage broadcast on CNN of the bidding and sale of migrants seeking a better life.
Guterres has called for an immediate investigation into the reported sale of African migrants in Libya, saying the transactions may amount to crimes against humanity.
Thousands of African migrants make the dangerous journey to Libya hoping to survive the often deadly crossing of the Mediterranean to Europe. They cite high unemployment and even the changing climate in their often-arid nations as reasons to make the perilous journey.
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