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Tineke Strik requests EU help over refugee boat tragedy

Strasbourg, 31.05.2012 – PACE rapporteur Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC) has called on members of the European Parliament to help uncover further details related to the deaths of 63 refugees who died in the Mediterranean last spring after their distress calls went unanswered.

Briefing the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee yesterday in Brussels on her continuing investigation into the tragedy, she said she is now seeking further information from NATO, the EU and individual European countries to help find out exactly what happened and how such disasters can be prevented in the future.

Senator Strik urged MEPs to request information from different EU bodies – including the Joint Research Centre and the European Fisheries Control Agency – which may be able to help identify which boats were in the area.

She also called on the parliamentarians – notably those from the United Kingdom, France and Spain – to put pressure on their own defence ministries to provide any more relevant information. Follow-up letters containing additional questions have been sent to NATO and the Spanish and British defence ministers, she pointed out.

Finally, Ms Strik called for a new EU “Protocol on the Mediterranean” to cover issues including the rescue, repatriation and resettlement of migrants and refugees. She also urged the EU to develop a common position to help strengthen existing international rules of the sea.