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Family of drowned Syrian toddler tell their story and call on the world to stop asylum seeker deaths -

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DAVID MARK: So let's now turn to that humanitarian crisis in Europe.

The photograph of a boy's tiny body, lying dead, face-down in the surf, has prompted sympathy and outrage at the inaction of developed nations over the plight of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers.

The distraught father of that toddler, who died along with his brother and mother as they tried to reach Greece, is preparing to take their bodies back to their Syrian home town.

Mandie Sami reports.

(Sound of Abdullah Kurdi crying)

MANDIE SAMI: With hands covering his face, head up against a wall, father Abdullah Kurdi cries out in grief saying "My God" as the body of his three year old son is carried in a coffin and loaded into a van.

Cameras surround him as he speaks of his overwhelming grief.

ABDULLAH KURDI (translated): We went into the sea for four minutes and then the captain saw that the waves were high, so he steered the boat and we were hit immediately. He panicked and dived into the sea and fled.

I took over and started steering. The waves were so high and the boat flipped. I took my wife and my kids in my arms and I realised they were all dead.

My kids were the most beautiful children in the world: wonderful. They woke me every morning to play with them and they're all gone now.

Now, all I want to do is to sit next to the graves of my wife and my children.

MANDIE SAMI: They were among more than a dozen people who died after two boats capsized while trying to reach the Greek island of Kos.

Abdullah Kurdi's sister, Tiima Kurdi, lives in Vancouver and had been trying to get the family to safety from there.

She's told Canadian television station CBC that she visited her brother, his wife and their children in Turkey last year after they'd escaped from the Syrian town of Kobane.

TIIMA KURDI: It changed my whole life. It was a really bad situation. Abdullah, his wife was still in Kobane at that time.

Abdullah was very worried about them, how to get them into Turkey.

Lots of phone call and told his wife to get out.

MANDIE SAMI: They did get out, but like the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers who've attempted the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to reach Europe by boat, they lost their lives.

Tiima Kurdi again.

TIIMA KURDI: It's a wake-up call. My brother said to me, it's my kids, it has to be the wake-up call for the whole world. And he said to me, my message to the world, please help those people crossing that water. Don't let them take that journey anymore. I don't want people to die anymore.

It has to be my kids so the world would wake up, but that's okay, and he said I don't need anything from anybody right now. All what I want, to go back to Kobane, bury them and I want to stay there beside them.

MANDIE SAMI: There's been anger in response to reports that Canada had refused an asylum application from the family.

The boy's aunt says she'd hoped to bring him and the family to Canada, but first tried to sponsor another brother and that application was rejected.

Canada's prime minister Stephen Harper hasn't responded directly to that claim.

But he has been speaking about the asylum seeker crisis.

STEPHEN HARPER: I don't need to tell you what we saw yesterday was a tragedy.

What I need to tell you is that it is far, far worse than that. Far worse.

As prime minister, I have been to refugee camps in Jordan and in Iraq, and I can tell you that I have seen tens of thousands of people in these desperate circumstances.

(Sound of protesters)

MANDIE SAMI: For a third day in Hungry, a stand-off between asylum seekers and police is continuing.

Thousands of asylum seekers hoping to reach Western Europe have flocked into the main railway station in Budapest, after police who'd blocked access for two days withdrew.

(Sound of protesters)

But just a few kilometres into the journey, the train that many had boarded was stopped.

Police tried to force the migrants off and take them to a camp to be documented.

Many refused to get off the train.

MIGRANT WOMAN: This is against human rights. They have no rights to take us out of the train; we have tickets; we paid money. We didn't do anything against the law.

MANDIE SAMI: Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban has sought to shift responsibility for the crisis from his country, saying it's "German problem".

VIKTOR OBAN: The problem is not a European problem. The problem is a German problem. Nobody would like to stay in Hungary. So we don't have difficulties with those who would like to stay in Hungary. Nobody would like to stay in Hungary neither in Slovakia nor Poland nor Estonia.

All of them would like to go to Germany.

MANDIE SAMI: The German chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected that, saying Europe needs to share the responsibility of looking after the asylum seekers.

ANGELA MERKEL (translated): The world will decide how Europe will be seen by the world. We are a community of values and the Geneva Convention is a part of this community that we cannot wish away.

MANDIE SAMI: The United States is also under pressure to do more to help.

Since fighting erupted in Syria in 2011, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has recommended 17,000 Syrians for resettlement in the US.

By the end of this month, it will only have accepted around 1,800.

Stephane Dujarric is the spokesman for the United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon

STEPHANE DUJARRIC: The responsibility to take care of refugees lies with the member states themselves. The pictures we're seeing currently out of Hungary, the picture we've all seen of that poor child dead in Turkey are clearly an affront to human dignity, and we have to ensure that every country treats refugees with the dignity and respect they deserve.

DAVID MARK: Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the UN ending Mandie Sami's report.