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Migrant Crisis: Children’s Bodies Washed Up on Libyan Beaches

Children's bodies
An empty boat beached on the Libyan shore. Children’s bodies were recently found washed up on shore there. Credit: Protectiva Open Arms

Disturbing photographs came to light on Tuesday showing children’s bodies (including babies and toddlers) washed up on the sands of a Libyan beach, depicting once again the human tragedy of the migration crisis along the borders of  Europe’s borders.

The charities whose workers shred the photos with the world on Twitter stated that the children had been with their parents on one of the many dinghies that had set off from Libyan shores in recent days.

They had been attempting to reach the shores of Europe as part of the wave of humanity that has tried to enter Europe to forge a better life.

Libya
A child’s body, clothed in pajamas, lies in the sands of a Libyan beach. Credit: Protectiva Open Arms

Oscar Camps, the founder of the group Proactiva Open Arms, wrote on Twitter “I’m still in shock for the horror of these images. These small children and women had dreams and life ambitions.”

Nancy Porsia, an Italian journalist and an expert on Libya, told reporters that the bodies had been discovered on a beach in the town of Zuwara on Saturday; they were then taken care of by members of the Libyan military. The victims were all buried in the cemetery located in nearby Abu Qamash.

The images were tragically reminiscent of the photograph of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old toddler whose body was found face down on a Turkish beach in 2015. More than any other event, this photograph drew great attention to the ongoing migrant and refugee crisis the began in earnest in 2015.

Photographs of children’s bodies “unacceptable”

In response to the tragic scene, Mario Draghi, the Italian prime minister, declared “Images of bodies of babies and toddlers washed up on a beach in Libya are unacceptable.”

Draghi’s response was noted by the press as the Italian PM met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Brussels to discuss the migrant issue and the prospects for a political stabilization in Libya and central Africa as the hoped-for result of renewed cooperation between France and Italy.

Flavio Di Giacomo, the spokesperson for the UN migration agency in Italy explained to the press that it was not clear when the victims had set off from Libya and what had happened to their small, inflatable dinghy.

“These are dramatic images,” he acknowledged.

“We’re trying to get to the bottom of this with our colleagues in Libya. There are many shipwrecks that are never recorded. We can’t exclude that it may be one of those.”

It is well-known that thousands of migrants have taken off from Libyan shores for the coast of Europe recently as human traffickers take advantage of the calm seas of springtime to launch dozens of small, often rickety and unseaworthy, boats.

Many of these unfortunates never reach their European destination.

Last week, Tunisian authorities admitted that dozens of people had perished in a shipwreck off the coast of that country.

More than 130 people were known to have died in April when their rubber boat likewise capsized in cold and stormy seas off the coast of Libya.

According to the migration agency of the UN, approximately 630 individuals have lost their lives in the central Mediterranean this year while trying to reach Europe.

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