Nato, Spain, Italy criticised over 63 migrant drownings


NATO, SPAIN and Italy have been strongly criticised in a Council of Europe report in relation to the deaths of 63 boat people off the coast of Libya last April.

A nine-month investigation by Tineke Strik, a Dutch member of the council’s migration and refugees committee, has concluded that a succession of failures on the part of Nato warships and European coastguards led to the deaths of the migrants.

Having set sail from Tripoli on the night of March 25th last year, the migrants’ dinghy, with 72 people on board, broke down almost immediately. After drifting for two weeks it was finally washed up in Libya again.

The report points out that even though emergency calls were issued and the boat was located and identified by European coastguard services, no rescue attempt was made.

Ms Strik commented yesterday: “We can talk as much as we want about human rights and the importance of complying with international obligations, but if at the same time we just leave people to die – perhaps because we don’t know their identity or because they come from Africa – it exposes how meaningless those words are.”