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Issue #1743      August 10, 2016

Pakistan agrees to repatriate refugee body

The Australian Pakistan embassy has agreed to take responsibility to arrange for Kamil Hussain’s body to be repatriated to Pakistan. A letter from the Pakistan embassy has been sent to the Australian and PNG Immigration offices notifying them that they will organise for Kamil’s body to be sent home.

The embassy has also notified PNG Immigration that they will cover the costs of flying the body home and will cover any costs associated with maintaining the body on Manus Island.

The offer from the embassy has been a big relief for the refugees on Manus Island who were initially told by PNG Immigration that Kamil’s body would be buried on the island.

A protest and memorial vigil for Kamil was held inside the Manus detention centre.

Even at the hastily called meeting, Pakistani leaders had been told that neither the Australian nor PNG government would take responsibility for returning Kamil’s body to his family in Pakistan.

Shamefully, no Australian Immigration official has spoken to the refugees on Manus, despite the Australian government’s responsibility for those transferred and detained on Manus.

Angry Manus locals had also contacted PNG Immigration on the island to insist that Kamil’s body was to be taken home and not buried on Manus.

The details of the transport of Kamil’s body is still to be determined, but preliminary arrangements for the preservation and transport of Kamil’s body to Port Moresby have already been made with the Lorengau hospital morgue.

“It is Australia’s shame that it did nothing to give the respect he deserved and provide the proper help for his body to be returned to his family. It was mean-spirited. It was despicable. It is to Pakistan’s credit that they have provided the assistance that the family and the refugees needed,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“All the asylum seekers on Manus were transferred illegally by the Australian government. Kamil was forcefully sent to Manus by the Australian government. He should not even have been on the island.

“The government should give guarantees now that this shabby episode will not be repeated, and that in future they will take full responsibility,” said Rintoul.

Next article – Trade targets health

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