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‘In a desperate situation, you make all these wrong decisions’

Brother explains why his relatives opted to get on a boat in coastal Turkey, on the Aegean Sea, to try to get to Europe.


 
Abdullah Kurdi, father of three-year old Aylan Kurdi, waits at a morgue in Mugla, Turkey, September 3, 2015. The family of Aylan, a Syrian toddler whose body washed up on a Turkish beach, had been trying to emigrate to Canada after fleeing the war-torn town of Kobani, one of their relatives told a Canadian newspaper on Thursday. A photograph of the tiny body of three-year old Aylan Kurdi washed up in the Aegean resort of Bodrum swept social media on Wednesday, spawning sympathy and outrage at the perceived inaction of developed nations in helping refugees. His 5-year-old brother Galip and mother Rehan, 35, also died after their boat capsized while trying to reach the Greek island of Kos. His father, Abdullah, was found semi-conscious and taken to hospital near Bodrum, according to Turkey's Sabah newspaper. REUTERS/Kenan Gurbuz - RTX1QWSC

Abdullah Kurdi, father of three-year old Aylan Kurdi, waits at a morgue in Mugla, Turkey, September 3, 2015. (Kenan Gurbuz, Reuters)

Update 3:30 p.m. ET: New details suggest it is unclear if B.C. family of drowned boy applied for refugee status in Canada. Here’s the latest version of events, atop the original story:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada says it received no refugee application from the father of two drowned Syrian boys who have put a devastating human face to the Syrian refugee crisis.

It did, however, receive an application for Abdullah Kurdi’s brother, Mohammed, but said it was incomplete and did not meet regulatory requirements for proof of refugee status recognition.

Hours earlier, the uncle of young Alan Kurdi — the subject of a seaside photo that has served as a heart-breaking illustration of the plight of Syrian refugees — assailed Canada’s refugee process even as questions swirled about whether his relatives had actually officially applied to enter the country as refugees.

Rocco Logozzo told The Canadian Press that the system doesn’t work, adding his family had money and plenty of room to house the Kurdi boys and their parents in Coquitlam, B.C., and had put in a private sponsorship request.

Logozzo said it was rejected in June.

A few hours later, however, Logozzo’s wife, Tima Kurdi, told a news conference that the family hadn’t made an official request for that family, but for Mohammed Kurdi. Nonetheless, her story of their attempts to bring their family members to Canada underscored the desperation and difficulties that confront would-be refugee claimants.

Tima Kurdi said she and her husband were only able to offer financial support for a single refugee application, she said, so they planned to apply for Mohammad and subsequently bring Abdullah and his family to Canada.

She added that it was impossible to secure the necessary documents for her brother, Mohammed, from Turkey.

“How would you feel when people are running from the border and the Turkish border guards are shooting in the air? What would you do?” she said.

Because she suspected an application for Abdullah would have been rejected on similar grounds, Tima said she decided to send money to bring the family across the Mediterranean by boat.

“I’m not asking the government to spend money on them,” said Tima. “I sent him the money to cross the water.”

She added a B.C. politician personally delivered a letter to Chris Alexander, the citizenship and immigration minister, asking for help from his office for the Kurdis.

The NDP candidate, Fin Donnelly, said the family had indeed pursued refugee status for the Kurdis and his letter to Alexander reflected that. He said he delivered the letter on behalf of the Kurdis to Alexander in March, but a sponsorship request was not approved.

Donnelly couldn’t be immediately reached for comment following Tima Kurdi’s news conference.

Logozzo, meantime, said his relatives were desperate.

“When they heard (the refugee application) failed, they lost all hope, and in a desperate situation, you make all these wrong decisions,” Logozzo said as he explained why his relatives opted to get on a boat in coastal Turkey, on the Aegean Sea, to try to get to Europe.

The Kurdi boys and their mother were among at least 12 migrants, including five children, who drowned Wednesday when two boats carrying them to the Greek island of Kos capsized.

Abdullah Kurdi, Tima Kurdi’s brother and the father of the boys, survived after their speed boat was struck by a large wave. Logozzo said Abdullah told his sister that he put lifejackets on both boys, but they somehow slipped off when the boat flipped over.

Alexander said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” by the image of the drowned boy. His campaign said he was returning to Ottawa on Thursday to deal with the crisis.

He added Prime Minister Stephen Harper has set a target for Canada to accept 23,000 Iraqis refugees and 11,300 Syrians.

“Of that number Canada has already resettled nearly 22,000 Iraqis and 2,300 Syrians,” Alexander said.

About 250,000 people have been killed and more than one million wounded in Syria since March 2011, according to United Nations officials. More than half the country’s population has been displaced, including more than four million who have fled Syria.

The route between the Turkish community of Bodrum and Kos, just a few kilometres, is one of the shortest from Turkey to the Greek islands, but remains dangerous. Hundreds of migrants a day attempt the perilous sea crossing despite the risks.

A UN panel reported Thursday that more than 2,000 Syrians have drowned in the Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe since 2011 and said there’s no end in sight to Syria’s civil war. In its 10th such report since the war began 4-1/2 years ago, the UN Human Rights Council urges the international community to help Syrian civilians.

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TORONTO — The uncle of the three-year-old Syrian boy whose lifeless body has put a devastating human face on the Syrian refugee crisis has assailed Canada’s refugee process.

Rocco Logozzo told The Canadian Press that the system doesn’t work, adding his family had money and plenty of room to house little Alan Kurdi  and his brother and parents at his home in Coquitlam, B.C.

Instead, the family and a B.C. politician says Canada rejected their refugee application in June. It wasn’t immediately clear why they were turned down.

“The whole thing was designed to fail … when they heard (the refugee application) failed, they lost all hope, and in a desperate situation, you make all these wrong decisions,” Logozzo said as he explained why his relatives opted to get on a boat in coastal Turkey, on the Aegean Sea, to try to get to Europe.

Logozzo said he and wife, Teema Kurdi, have been grieving since hearing the news that their nephews — Alan and his five-year-old brother, Galib — and their mother, Rehand, died as they tried to reach their destination.

They were among at least 12 migrants, including five children, who drowned Wednesday when two boats carrying them to the Greek island of Kos capsized.

Logozzo said the boys’ father, Abdullah, who is Teema Kurdi’s brother, survived after their speed boat was struck by a large wave. He said Abdullah told his sister that he put lifejackets on both boys, but they somehow slipped off when the boat flipped over.

Related reading: Why Canada should take in 20 times more refugees

Teema Kurdi was too heartbroken to talk at length on Thursday.

“I’m not feeling well,” she said through sobs. “I can’t talk.”

Fin Donnelly, who is running for re-election in Port Moody-Coquitlam, has been working with Logozza and his wife to try to to sponsor their relatives.

The NDP politician said he delivered a letter on behalf of Kurdi to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander in March, but the sponsorship request was not approved.

Alexander said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” by the image of the drowned boy.

“The tragic photo of young Alan Kurdi and the news of the death of his brother and mother broke hearts around the world,” Alexander said. “I am meeting with officials to ascertain both the facts of the case of the Kurdi family and to receive an update on the migrant crisis.”

He added Prime Minister Stephen Harper has set a target for Canada to accept 23,000 Iraqis refugees and 11,300 Syrians.

“Of that number Canada has already resettled nearly 22,000 Iraqis and 2,300 Syrians,” Alexander said.

About 250,000 people have been killed and more than one million wounded in Syria since March 2011, according to United Nations officials. More than half the country’s population has been displaced, including more than four million who have fled Syria.

The route between the Turkish community of Bodrum and Kos, just a few kilometres, is one of the shortest from Turkey to the Greek islands, but remains dangerous. Hundreds of migrants a day attempt the perilous sea crossing despite the risks.

A UN panel reported Thursday that more than 2,000 Syrians have drowned in the Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe since 2011 and said there’s no end in sight to Syria’s civil war. In its 10th such report since the war began 4-1/2 years ago, the UN Human Rights Council urges the international community to help Syrian civilians.

— With files from The Associated Press


 
Filed under:

‘In a desperate situation, you make all these wrong decisions’

  1. boy, brother, son, grandson, friend, neighbour . . . refugee

    His rights were obscured by a powerful curtain of relabeling; faction, terrorist, sectarian, jihadist, collateral, militia, migrant, casualty.

    When we finally see him we recognize him as one of us.

    Aylan Kurdi had the right to life, liberty and security and to seek asylum in other countries. UDHR Articles 3 & 14.1

    • bad politicians operate where the rules are weak
    • there are simple, proven rules to stop them
    • we need to make sure those rules are present as basic standards in all levels of government, all the time

    Help us build a lasting deterant to Chris Alexanders’ behaviour with Standards of Democracy.
    http://www.GCHRD.ca

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