Photos, posted on Twitter by charity groups, of remains of babies and toddlers washed up on a beach in Libya, highlight the human tragedy of migration crisis on Europe’s borders.
The children had been travelling with their parents on one of the many dinghies that set off from Libya in recent days, according to one of the charities that posted the photos.
“I’m still in shock for the horror of these images,” Oscar Camps, the founder of Proactiva Open Arms, wrote on Twitter. “These small children and women had dreams and life ambitions.”
Nancy Porsia, an Italian journalist and Libya expert, said the bodies were discovered on a beach in Zuwara on Saturday, when they were collected by the Libyan military and buried in the cemetery in nearby Abu Qamash.
The images have been compared to the photograph of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old who was found face down on a Turkish beach in 2015, which galvanised public attention to the refugee crisis.
Mario Draghi, the Italian prime minister, said: “Images of bodies of babies and toddlers washed up on a beach in Libya are unacceptable.”
Their publication came as he met the French president, Emmanuel Macron, in Brussels to discuss the management of migrant arrivals and the prospects for stabilisation in Libya and central Africa with the help of reinforced French-Italian cooperation.
A spokesperson for the UN migration agency in Italy said it was not clear when the victims had set off from Libya and what had happened to their vessel.
“These are dramatic images,” said Flavio Di Giacomo. “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.”
Thousands of people have departed Libya for the coast of Europe in recent weeks as people-smugglers take advantage of calm seas to launch dozens of boats. Many never reach their destination.
Last week, Tunisian authorities said dozens of people died in a shipwreck off the coast of Tunisia, while in April more than 130 people died when their rubber boat capsized in stormy seas off the coast of Libya.
According to the UN’s migration agency, about 630 people have died in the central Mediterranean this year while attempting to reach Europe. (Source: The Guardian)