Aylan's aunt urges EU to 'open heart'
The aunt of three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi whose drowning off Turkey shocked the world visited Brussels yesterday and tearfully urged the EU to adopt an emergency plan to redistribute refugees.
"Open your heart and take action and come up with a shared plan -- that's why I'm here, to honor my brother's family," Teema Kurdi told a press conference outside European Union headquarters in Brussels.
"It's too late for Aylan and Ghalib and Rihana, but it's not too late for thousands of children and their families who risk everything trying to reach safe haven," said Teema, who flew in from her home in Canada.
Teema's brother Abdullah Kurdi buried his three year-old son Aylan, and his other young son Ghalib and his wife Rihana in the Syrian flashpoint town of Kobane on September 4 after their flight to Europe on a boat ended in tragedy.
Teema Kurdi spoke with Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg's foreign minister, before he chairs an emergency EU meeting later yesterday on a plan to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece, Hungary and Italy
"Instead of putting up fences, I appeal to Europe and the world's politicians to open their doors," Kurdi added.
Her visit was organised by the campaign group Avaaz, which circulated a petition with one million signatures calling for action.
"Things are not looking great, but what seemed impossible two weeks ago, with the people coming together, with the catalyst effect of Aylan's death, we already see change," Avaaz campaign director Luis Morago said.
The United Nations rights chief yesterday called for Europe and countries across the globe to establish "effective and principled migration governance" to address a multitude of migrant and refugee crises rocking the world.
"I implore decision-makers in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, as well as Europe, to take swift action to establish effective and principled migration governance," Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said, opening the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
His comments came as Europe scrambles to respond to the biggest movement of people since World War II.
More than 430,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year -- a majority of them fleeing war and repression in places like Syria.
Zeid hailed the demonstrations of support for the migrants by regular people in many European countries.