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Another report shows Nato and others left boat people to die

Another report provides evidence that Nato and other European countries abandoned and contributed to the deaths of 63 refugees who were fleeing Libya last year.

The research carried out by the Forensic Oceanography team at Goldsmiths, University of London sheds light on the fate of the 'left-to-die' boat which saw 63 migrants die while trying to flee the war in Libya last year.

The research was carried out by Charles Heller, Lorenzo Pezzani and Situ Studio, and is part of the European Research Council (ERC) project 'Forensic Architecture' carried out at Goldsmiths' Centre for Research Architecture.

The research, which employed a wide range of emerging mapping and visualisation technologies, has been provided to a coalition of NGOs that have been demanding accountability for these deaths.

On 11th April 2012, with the support of these NGOs, several survivors of the 'left-to-die' boat convened in Paris to file a legal case, supplemented by this report, against the French Army for non-assistance to people in distress at sea.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 1,500 people died in the Mediterranean while trying to leave Libya in 2011, and among these incidents the 'left-to-die' boat case, reported by the international press, provoked widespread public outrage.

A boat of 72 migrants fleeing Tripoli in the early morning of 27th March 2011 ran out of fuel and was left to drift for 14 days until it landed back on the Libyan coast. A distress call was sent out via satellite telephone but the migrants were not rescued, and with no water or food on-board only nine of them survived.

Over the past four months, the Forensic Oceanography team provided technical expertise in the form of maps and visual material to Senator Tineke Strik, Rapporteur for the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) who has released an in-depth report on the issue.

Mr. Pezzani, PhD candidate and Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, said: "The research included a series of visualisations and maps that reconstruct, as accurately as possible, what happened to the vessel.”

The research also assessed the involvement of several parties the vessel encountered during the time it was at sea, Mr. Pezzani said. “Using digital tools that have seen limited applications in the field of international law and human rights advocacy suggests new possibilities for documenting violations of human rights at sea, and increases the likelihood for greater accountability in the future," he added.
 

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