Italy failed to rescue over 200 migrants in 2013 Mediterranean disaster, UN rights body finds

white and brown boat on sea under blue and white cloudy sky

A UN rights committee said that Italy failed in the international obligations to protect the right to life of more than 200 migrants on board a vessel that sank in the Mediterranean sea in 2013.

In the decision published on 27, January 2021 , the Human Rights Committee – an independent expert body that monitors states compliance with the international covenant and political rights-. They said that Italy failed to respond promptly to various distress calls from the sinking boat, which was carrying more than 400 adults and children.

Italy also failed to explain the delay in dispatching its naval vessel. ITS Libra which was located only about an hour away from the scene in a news release.

The committee decision responded to a joint complaint lodged by four survivors- three Syrian and a Palestine national. They lost heir families in the accident. The plaintiffs recounted the incidents of 10 October 2013, including the vessel’s plea to Italian Authorities for urgent assistance.

Several hours later, Italian authorities told the vessel that it was in Maltese rescue Coordination center. By the time a Maltese patrol boat arrived, the vessel had already capsized and an Italian naval ship was dispatched only after an urgent request from Malta.

As a result of the delayed action, more than 200 people, including 60 children , drowned , the committee states.

A parallel claim brought against Malta was rejected by the committee. The plaintiff’s didn’t bring legal proceedings before courts in Malta, which is one of the requirements , prior to filing their case to the Human Rights Committee.

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