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‘Left to die’ boat: PACE rapporteur to seek MEPs help in clarifying who is responsible

Strasbourg, 25.05.2012 – Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC), whose report “Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: who is responsible?” was recently adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), will be in Brussels on 30 May to brief members of the European Parliament on her findings and seek their assistance in clarifying further how 63 people fleeing the Libya conflict by sea in March 2011 were “left to die”.

Addressing the Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, she will reiterate the Assembly’s call on the European Parliament to “make use of its institutional power to request and obtain further information, including relevant satellite imagery, so that the full facts concerning this incident can be brought to light”.

“We know that some vessels, including military vessels, were very close to this desperate boat and were told that it was in distress, yet did not go to its aid,” said Senator Strik ahead of her visit. “I hope to explore how the European Parliament can use its institutional powers to help us identify exactly who was there at the time, and bring pressure to bear to uncover the remaining facts.”

Following a plenary debate last month, PACE concluded that a failure to react to distress calls and a “vacuum of responsibility” for search and rescue were among a “catalogue of failures” which led to the deaths after a tragic 15-day voyage.

The parliamentarians said search and rescue authorities, NATO, the flag states of naval vessels in the area, the Libyan authorities and reckless smugglers were among those who should share responsibility. NATO in particular “failed to react to distress calls” in a military zone under its control, they said.