SOYMB reported briefly upon the incident last year where over 60 migrants adrift in a boat were left to diebut now a Council of Europe investigator says deaths of migrants adrift in Mediterranean exposes double standards in valuing human life.
"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," said Tineke Strik.
The report states that those who died "could have been rescued if all those involved had complied with their obligations".
Despite Nato's initial claim that none of its ships received a distress signal regarding the migrant vessel, the report reveals that distress calls were sent out by the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome and should have been passed on to at least one ship under Nato command – the Spanish frigate Méndez Núñez, which was in the immediate vicinity of the migrant boat and equipped with helicopters. A rescue would have been "a piece of cake", said one Nato official.
"Nato declared the region a military zone under its control, but failed to react to the distress calls sent out by Rome MRCC," the report says. According to the report, another naval vessel, the Borsini, an Italian warship that was not under Nato command at the time, was also positioned close to the migrant boat when the distress calls went out.
More than 1,500 migrants have lost their lives in attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in 2011