Brussels: A leading European rights watchdog is condemning NATO and Western navies for not coming to the aid of a boatload of migrants adrift in the Mediterranean Sea during last year's military campaign against Libya.
A Council of Europe committee said in a report released on Thursday that 63 of the 72 people on board perished when the boat was allowed to drift for weeks without assistance after its engine failed.
The report accused NATO of not being "very approachable with regard to requests for search and rescue operations."
NATO warships were patrolling the area at the time, enforcing an arms embargo against Libya. The alliance has rejected the accusations, saying its ships rescued hundreds of people in the area of operations.
First Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012, 19:00