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Statement on two-year anniversary of death of Alan Kurdi

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illustration of Alan Kurdi by Yante Ismail © UNHCR/Yante Ismail

Nearly two years after the lifeless body of three-year-old Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi was found on a Turkish beach, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, urges the international community to take robust action to prevent more tragedies.

Although the number of arrivals in Europe has drastically decreased since Alan’s death, people continue to attempt the journey and many have lost their lives in the process. Since 2 September 2015, at least 8,500 refugees and migrants have died or gone missing trying to cross the Mediterranean alone. Many others have died in the desert.

Many of the children trying to reach Europe travel on their own, making the journey even more terrifying and perilous. This was the case for 92 per cent of the 13,700 children who arrived to Italy by sea in the first seven months of 2017.

The urgent need for solutions for these children and others on the move remains – if people see no hope and live in fear, then they will continue to gamble their lives making desperate journeys.

UNHCR is encouraged by the commitments made at the Paris meeting on migration and asylum on Monday that address some of these issues, but much more needs to be done to protect and save lives.

Political leaders need to work together to develop safer alternatives, to better inform those considering making the journey of the dangers they face, and most importantly to tackle the root causes of these movements, by resolving conflicts and creating real opportunities in countries of origin.

ENDS

To read the full statement by the High Commissioner on the Paris meeting, please click here:

Click here to read the report on arrivals to Europe for the first half of 2017.

This post originally appeared on unhcr.org