KRP calls on in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to as­sist refugees

Tod­dler’s dad: ‘ Ev­ery­thing I was dream­ing of is gone’

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Pres­i­dency re­leased a state­ment to­day re­gard­ing the latest phe­nom­e­non of the Kur­dish refugees head­ing to Europe. The state­ment made ref­er­ence to the latest pho­to­graph re­leased of Ay­lan Kurdi, the Kur­dish child from Kobane who was lay­ing life­lessly on a Turk­ish beach af­ter an at­tempt by their fam­ily to cross into Europe in search of a safer refuge.

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Pres­i­dency state­ment called upon the peo­ple of Kur­dis­tan to re­main in their home­land and also called upon the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to pro­vide as­sis­tance to those who have fled their home­land.

Ay­lan Kurdi's last jour­ney was sup­posed to take him to a safe home -- hun­dreds of miles away from the re­lent­less war in his na­tive Syria.

In­stead, it ended with a fu­neral for the 2-year-old in the city his fam­ily tried to flee.

Ay­lan's body ar­rived in the Turk­ish city of Is­tan­bul on Fri­day. From there, it made its fi­nal trip home to Kobani, the Syr­ian city his fam­ily left to es­cape the daily bar­rage of bombs.

The tiny boy with a cheeky smile may be gone, but the wrench­ing im­ages show­ing his drowned body will live on.

The photos, which have gal­va­nized the world and be­come the latest sym­bol of the mi­grant cri­sis in Europe, show his body ly­ing on a Turk­ish beach. He's wear­ing a red shirt and black shoes, his face partly cov­ered by sand and gen­tle waves, as if he were sleep­ing. Only his fa­ther sur­vived Ay­lan's fam­ily was among the throngs mak­ing the treach­er­ous jour­ney aboard over­crowded rafts in the choppy Mediter­ranean wa­ters.

Ex­hausted by the con­stant con­flict and strug­gle for sur­vival, they left their home­town in search of a bet­ter, safer life.

Ay­lan, his brother, Galip, 4, and mother, Re­hen, drowned try­ing to make that dream a re­al­ity. The chil­dren's fa­ther, Ab­dul­lah Kurdi, sur­vived, and ac­com­pa­nied their bod­ies to Kobani, where they were buried.

"I don't know what to do," he said as three coffins sat nearby. "I don't know what to say."

Kurdi said he will stay in the war-torn city where his wife and chil­dren are buried ad­ja­cent to one another.

Tiny body, big mes­sage

Ab­dul­lah Kurdi says the trip from hell started when he boarded a small, over­crowded boat in Tur­key with 12 peo­ple on board. It was manned by two smug­glers: a Turk and a Syr­ian.

"I told him, ' Should we empty the boat? Should I get off with my wife and child?' "

One of the smug­glers replied, "'No, no, it is good,'" he re­counted.

As soon as the boat set out, large waves crashed against it. They pounded harder, forc­ing one smug­gler to jump over­board and swim to­ward shore. Kurdi said he tried to take con­trol of the boat, but it cap­sized in the rough wa­ters.

"I tried to reach for my wife and chil­dren," he said. "I was in the wa­ter for 20 min­utes. One per­son af­ter another was dy­ing."

Try­ing to get to Canada

Ab­dul­lah Kurdi's sis­ter had filed refugee pa­per­work to ob­tain per­mis­sion for her fam­ily to live in Canada, but the ap­pli­ca­tion was re­jected in June.

But Tima Kurdi, who lives in Van­cou­ver, said the pa­per­work was for a dif­fer­ent brother. The Depart­ment of Cit­i­zen­ship and Immigration Canada con­firmed Thurs­day it never re­ceived an ap­pli­ca­tion for Ab­dul­lah.

Tima Kurdi said she knew of her brother's plans to make the dan­ger­ous voy­age.

Sup­port, back­lash

More than 350,000 peo­ple have ar­rived in Europe so far this year, seek­ing sanc­tu­ary from war, per­se­cu­tion or poverty.

Their ar­rival has sparked sup­port in some ar­eas across Europe and back­lash in oth­ers.

For­eign Min­is­ters Paolo Gen­tiloni of Italy, FrankWal­ter Stein­meier of Ger­many and Lau­rent Fabius of France have pre­sented the Euro­pean Union with a joint doc­u­ment call­ing for a re­vi­sion of asy­lum rules and a fairer dis­tri­bu­tion of refugees. No specifics have been pro­vided.

"These peo­ple are forced to go on boats, they pay 4,000 or 5,000 eu­ros and they die in these des­per­ate cir­cum­stances," said An­to­nio Guter­res, the U.N. high com­mis­sioner for refugees. "This doesn't make sense. We need to have a co­her­ent re­sponse to this sit­u­a­tion ... only Europe as a whole, based on sol­i­dar­ity, can give that re­sponse."

Ay­lan's photo has sparked crit­i­cism of Europe for not do­ing enough to help the refugees and mi­grants es­cap­ing from Africa and the Mid­dle East.

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