The father of a three-year-old boy whose lifeless body photographed on a Turkish beach drew the world’s attention to the plight of refugees says that little has changed in the year since his son died.
Abdullah Kurdi, a Syrian who now lives in Iraq, lost not only little Aylan but also son Galip, five, and wife Rihan, 35, one year ago yesterday.
Mr Kurdi was quoted by Germany’s Bild newspaper as saying this week that he’s glad the photo of his son’s body was published to “make clear to people what is happening” but he is upset that more hasn’t been done for refugees since.
“Politicians said after the death of my family: never again!” he said.
“Everyone allegedly wanted to do something after the photos that had so moved them. But what is happening now? The dying goes on and nobody’s doing anything.”
Kurdi urged others contemplating the journey that he undertook with his family to rethink their plans.
“I’d like to say to the refugees in the refugee camps that they shouldn’t make this journey,” he said. “The danger is too great. It’s not worth it.”
His sister, Tima Kurdi, posted this week on her Facebook page that “we must never forget the price for freedom.”
“Please keep (Aylan) and all those who died for the chance of freedom from the shackles of war in our daily prayers,” she wrote.
Aylan’s aunt said the world needs to open its eyes to the plight of refugees and do more to save them.
Speaking from Irbil, Ms Kurdi said the year since they died has been a “stressful and painful” one, and called on the international community to act urgently to save others from dying in the same way.
Aylan’s father added: “At first the world was anxious to help the refugees but this did not even last a month.
“In fact the situation got worse, the war escalated and more people are leaving.”
Ms Kurdi, who now lives in Canada, said she felt compelled to give her family money when she saw the conditions in which they were living in Turkey after fleeing conflict in Syria.
She said it would have been difficult to bring her relatives to Canada legally and felt compelled to “give them a chance” for a better life.
“That’s why I decided I want to give him (Abdullah) the money, to trust the smuggler. I wish I didn’t.”
The outcry following Alan’s death led to widespread demands for more refugees to be settled in the UK.
Yesterday, celebrities including Juliet Stevenson and Vanessa Redgrave, religious leaders and local politicians urged British ministers to immediately bring over hundreds of children stranded in Calais’ sprawling migrant camp.