A photograph of a teenage girl's body bag has become the latest symbol of the Mediterranean refugee crisis, as world leaders gather in New York to come up with a blueprint for a better international response to the problem. The image, aimed to shock, was published by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) ahead of the first historic United Nations (UN) Summit on Refugees and Migrants on 19 September.
Member states are expected to come together to work on a more "coordinated and humane approach to address large movements of refugees and migrants".
The photograph was taken on 22 July when the MV Aquarius, a search and rescue vessel, run in partnership between MSF and SOS Méditerranée, came across a boat carrying 22 bodies.
The photo shows a green body bag, on which an aid worker has identified the victim as: "Female. Age 16-20 years. African".
MSF told IBTimes UK only one body was identified when the bodies were placed in the care of the Italian authorities. The Italian Red Cross (Croce Rossa Italiana) is working on further identifications, MSF confirmed.
The treacherous journey across the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy accounts for the bulk of migrant drownings. Around 3,212 people have perished making the crossing during 2016.
MSF: UN Summit declaration 'lacks a sense of urgency'
MSF shared the powerful image on Twitter on 19 September as the UN General Assembly called for a summit at the heads of state and government level on large movements of refugees and migrants, during which the New York declaration on refugees and migrants is due to be adopted.
"With 5,7491 people dying on borders across the world in the past 12 months alone, and MSF teams around the world treating hundreds and thousands of men, women and children suffering from the effects of increasingly restrictive asylum and migration policies, the meeting couldn't come at a better time," the medical humanitarian organisation said.
However, the organisation warned that, while the draft New York Declaration "seems well intentioned, its content is overly vague and lacks a sense of urgency to really improve the lives of migrants and refugees".
In a post, MSF said it believes that the declaration that aims for "concrete results in 2018" is "detached from any real will to grapple with the global displacement crisis we see today".
"The reality, as witnessed by MSF teams from Mexico, to Cameroon, to Greece, is that many of the UN member states expected to sign the declaration are already in contravention of it, their harmful migration and asylum policies increasing the suffering of millions of migrants and refugees," the organisation said.
The UN describes the summit as a "watershed moment" to strengthen governance of international migration and a "unique opportunity for creating a more responsible, predictable system for responding to large movements of refugees and migrants".
Forecasts for the migrant death toll during 2016 could surpass over 10,000, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).