Body of missing 15-month-old Kurdish refugee who died in the English Channel found in Norway

Norway police found a body on the country’s coast earlier this year is that of a missing 15-month-old who died in the English Channel.

The child, named Artin, died along with four family members when the boat they were travelling in sank in October.

The Kurdish-Iranian family had been attempting to reach the UK from France. Now the child’s remains will be flown back to Iran to be buried.

On Monday, police in Norway said the body had been found on the country’s south-western shore near Karmoy by two officers on New Year’s Day.

“We didn’t have a missing baby reported in Norway, and no family had contacted the police,” Camilla Tjelle Waage, the head of police investigations said.

“The blue overall wasn’t a Norwegian brand either [and] that indicated the baby was not from Norway,” she added.

A DNA profile was then obtained and the family were notified that it was in fact Artin.

“Skilled professionals in the department of forensic sciences at Oslo University Hospital managed to retrieve matching DNA profiles,” the police statement said.

The boat carrying the family sank in the Channel on 27 October. Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, Anita, nine, and Armin, six, all died.

The family were from the city of Sardasht in western Iran, near to the border with Iraq. Fifteen other migrants were taken to hospital and an investigation into the sinking was opened in Dunkirk by the French public prosecutor.

Thousands of Iranian-Kurdish refugees put the lives of their families in the hands of smugglers and go to Europe every year.

The Kurdish region in Iran has faced both political persecution and vast economic disparity. Between 25 and 35 million Kurds inhabit a mountainous region straddling the borders of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia.

They make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, but they have never obtained a permanent nation state.