Somali Community denied access to young Somali boy who attempted suicide

The following article about a Beautiful Boy (see poem for Beautiful Boy on this blog) who is gravely ill and traumatised in hospital in Perth after a suicide attempt on Christmas Island is being made to suffer further as Somali people who would care for him, speak to him in Somali, create a family of people who share his history, many of the traumas he has experienced, language, culture, sense of belonging … are denied access to him under the guise of ‘privacy’.  It is beyond belief and yet it is true.  Truly this is a horrific war this invader-australier is engaging in.

Suicide-bid asylum boy: access denied:


The Australian September 02, 2013 


                       THE Somali community is pleading with the Immigration Department to let it provide support for an unaccompanied teenage countryman who tried to hang himself on Christmas Island. The teenager, who is in a Perth hospital, is subject to Labor’s Papua New Guinea Solution, which prevents asylum-seekers settling in Australia even if they are found to be refugees.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has rejected the request from the Somali community to provide assistance, claiming the boy’s privacy must be respected and the priority must be on his mental health.

The 16-year-old, who was flown from the remote island to Perth last Sunday in a medical emergency, arrived without a parent or guardian and, as such, Immigration Minister Tony Burke is his legal guardian. The department would not say what the consequences of the boy’s physical and mental health condition were on his legal status and asylum claim.  

Human rights lawyer George Newhouse said hiding behind privacy in the case of a minor was “unconscionable” when there was no way of guaranteeing the minister was properly performing his role as guardian. He called for an independent guardian to be appointed for unaccompanied asylum-seeker children and people with certain disabilities.

The Somali community believes it could help the department in tracking down the boy’s family or people he may know here or overseas.  Hassan Egal, president of the Somali Community Association in Western Australia, said they were concerned he could be returned to immigration detention, possibly in PNG or Nauru.

“We are concerned about his medical condition, we want access to visit him and find out how he is,” Mr Egal said. “If he gets better, we are happy to assist him and look after him and sponsor him while his case of refugee claim is processed. We don’t want him to go back to the same situation. “We are concerned at the risk for his life. We understand that’s why he’s in hospital now. We don’t want that to happen again.”

Haweya Ismail, a student at the University of Western Australia, said she had contacted the Immigration Department asking if Somalis could visit the boy to take Somali food and let him hear Somali being spoken, but was told that could not happen for privacy reasons. “We’re not looking for the exact details of what happened,” Ms Ismail said. “It’s more the case of a boy who has gone through a traumatic experience and we want to provide moral support and a friendly face. He’s a child and he needs support.” Saido Ifrah Abdullahi said the tight-knit community had experience with trauma. “We’ve all been through a harsh time, we’ve all experienced civil war, so for us to see a minor by himself with no parents we are really quite concerned,” she said.

But an Immigration Department spokeswoman said the focus needed to be on the boy’s health and wellbeing and it was far too early to respond to requests from the community or questions about the boy’s asylum claims.  Mr Newhouse, from Shine Lawyers, said an independent guardian would provide the checks and balances needed to ensure he was properly treated

.”The question about whether this child is being properly (cared for) needs to be answered.” – See more at:


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