Fate of shipwreck orphan hangs in balance

Posted on: February 4th, 2019 by
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There are no plans to provide a boy orphaned in the Christmas Island boat tragedy with an advocate, reports the ABC.


Immigration officials are trying to track down the relatives of the child orphaned in last week’s fatal accident.

About 48 Iranian, Iraqi and Kurdish asylum seekers died when their boat smashed apart on rocks in high seas last Wednesday.

However, only 30 bodies have been recovered so far.

Forty-two people survived, including three children who are now orphans.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship on Tuesday said that two of the children are cousins and had been reunited with a family member who also survived the accident, AAP reported.

“We are currently trying to explore as many avenues as we can to identify any family members of that particular child who may be in Australia,” the spokeswoman told AAP.

On Wednesday, Peter Richards from the Department of Immigration said it was too early to speculate whether Immigration Minister Chris Bowen was an appropriate guardian for the boy – as is the case under Australian law.

“I think it’s very premature to be speculating around what the best answer may be in relation to that child,” the ABC reported Mr Richards as saying.

“That is something that we will consider over the coming days and weeks.”

Immigration officials are interviewing survivors and sifting through calls logged on the emergency helpline set up following the incident to try to find more information about the child.

People who think they may know someone involved in the disaster can call 1300 724 010 in Australia or +61 39 936 5436 from overseas, 24 hours a day.

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