I have recently received many emails me about the tragic death of Shukri Abdi.
Shukri was a 12-year-old refugee from Somalia who first came to the UK in 2017. Her body was found in the River Irwell in Bury on 27th June 2019.
Shukri’s death was as shocking when it happened, as it is now nearly a year later. My thoughts and prayers go out to Shukri’s mother Zamzam Ture and her siblings as they continue to seek answers.
While the Black Lives Matter movement gathers pace in the US, many Brits are now scrutinising the institutionalised racism closer to home. Anti-racists campaigners in Bury and beyond have called for answers surrounding Shukri’s death. Many are now questioning whether Shukri’s tragic death could have been treated differently.
Shukri and her family fled Somalia in 2017 and came to the UK as part of the vulnerable persons resettlement scheme. Unfortunately, the lack of support and care for vulnerable refugees in the UK is a familiar story and something experienced during Shukri’s short life here. It is clear the Government must do more to provide holistic support for refugees, helping them to integrate and develop social networks in their new home. Without proper support, refugees like Shukri will continue to be failed by the institutions supposedly tasked with protecting them.
Since June 2019 I know there have been concerns raised about GM Police’s investigation into Shukri’s death. I am aware that there has been an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
Furthermore, following the closure of GM Police’s investigation into this case, Shukri’s family won the right to an inquest. An inquest is a public court hearing to discover the facts of a death, but if evidence is found that suggests someone may be criminally responsible, the coroner can pass the evidence to the police or the Crown Prosecution Service.
The inquest began on 24 February 2020 and is still ongoing.
Below I can share the updates I have received regarding the IOPC investigation and the inquest.
I received the following response from the IPOC when I contacted them for an update on their investigation:
The complaints we received following the death of Shukri Abdi were treated with the upmost seriousness and very carefully assessed.
Our investigation, into the actions of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), was completed in January this year.
Our final report has been shared with the force, and with Shukri’s family. We plan to publish our report following the inquest. Our thoughts remain with all those affected by her tragic death.
I received the following response from Mayor Andy Burnham when I contacted him to pass on the requests made by my constituents for an inquiry:
I fully appreciate the level of public concern about the tragic death of Shukri Abdi and am grateful to everyone who has shown an interest in this troubling case and support for Shukri’s family.
I can confirm that an independent inquiry into her death is already underway in the form of an Inquest overseen by the Coroner. If I were to set up a new separate inquiry at this point, it would jeopardise those ongoing legal proceedings and not help us establish the truth of what happened.
However, together with the Deputy Mayor, I have today written to the Coroner pledging our support for the process that is underway and for the widest possible investigation into what happened both on the day and in the months leading up to it, looking at the actions of all public bodies involved.
We have asked the Coroner when the inquest will recommence, following the pause due to Covid-19, and have offered any assistance we might be able to give to ensure it is concluded as soon as possible. Once the Inquest has concluded, we will of course consider what further action may be needed on the back of it. We are committed to ensuring that the truth of what happened is clearly established in this case.
As this is an ongoing case, as an MP I am unable to comment on it. However, I have assured my constituents I will continue to follow this case closely as it develops.
Thank you to everyone who contacting me about this very important issue. I have been vocal about my support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and recently wrote about this watershed moment in the fight against racism for LabourList.
I will continue to champion this cause.