Don't turn backs on refugees, Alan Kurdi's aunt pleads

By: AFP      Published: 07:58 PM, 1 Sep, 2020
Don't turn backs on refugees, Alan Kurdi's aunt pleads

The aunt of Alan Kurdi, the Syrian boy whose image became a tragic symbol of the 2015 refugee crisis after his body was washed up on a Turkish beach, called on the world on Tuesday not to ignore the plight of refugees.

"We cannot close our eyes and turn our back and walk away from them," Tima Kurdi said at a press conference held by the German migrant rescue group Sea-Eye to mark five years since the boy's death.

"People all over the world continue to suffer and it's getting worse, not any better. And they are asking for help," she said.

Alan Kurdi was found on a beach near the Turkish resort of Bodrum, along with his brother Ghalib and mother Rehanna, on September 2, 2015. He was three years old.

The family drowned after their inflatable boat sank in the Aegean Sea as they were trying to reach the Greek island of Kos.

Pictures of the little boy lying face down in the sand caused horror around the world, highlighting the plight of hundreds of thousands of mainly Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe.

"The image of my nephew, Alan Kurdi, the boy on the beach, was all over the media across the globe," Tima Kurdi said in the Bavarian city of Regensburg, fighting back tears.

Her brother, Alan Kurdi's father, called her on the same day, telling her: "The picture of my son is the wake-up call to the world."

"Sadly our tragedy is one of many," said Tima Kurdi, who was born in Syria but now lives in Canada.

"I decided to speak up on behalf of all those suffering people who have no voice and said, if I couldn't save my own family, let me save others."

German rescue organisation Sea-Eye renamed its main rescue ship after Alan Kurdi.

The organisation said it is also planning to send out a second rescue boat by the end of the year named after Ghalib Kurdi