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The New Arab Staff

UK anti-racism activists call for new investigation into death of Somali schoolgirl Shukri Abdi

Last year, the 12-year-old girl's body was found in Manchester's River Irwell [Twitter]

Date of publication: 8 June, 2020

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Last year, the 12-year-old girl's body was found in Manchester’s River Irwell.
Anti-racism activists have launched an online petition demanding UK police further investigates the death of Somali schoolgirl Shukri Abdi, after the case was treated as a "tragic incident", despite allegations of racist bullying by her schoolmates.

The petition has garnered almost half a million signatures within hours since its launch, after it was endorsed by Black Lives Matter activists and celebrities, including Star Wars actor John Boyega.

Last year, the 12-year-old girl's body was found in Manchester's River Irwell. A group of children were with her at the river shortly before she died.

An inquest into her death earlier this year heard that one of Shukri's classmates forced her to get into the water and later "laughed for two minutes while she died".

Hours after Shukri drowned, the Greater Manchester police ruled out any suspicious circumstances and described her death as a "tragic incident".

Members of Shukri's family claim she was bullied at the school for more than a year but that the school failed to respond to her family's concerns. 

Some have contrasted the largely ignored death of Shukri with the high-profile case of Madeleine McCann, a white British girl who went missing 13-years-ago in Portugal.

Last week, investigators announced that they believed McCann was dead after the British government spent millions searching for her kidnapper. 

With the launch of Monday's petition, the hashtag #JusticeForShukriAbdi quickly gained traction on Twitter amid the global #BlackLivesMatter protests.

"Solidarity with the family friends and community of 12 year old Shukri Abdi. There must be a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding her tragic and untimely death. Justice delayed is justice denied #justiceforShukri," tweeted Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy. 

"SAY HER NAME. Not enough people are talking about Shukri Abdi and the justice she deserves! The recognition she deserves. A young life stolen from the hands of institutional racism. Vile. SAY HER NAME. #JusticeForShukriAbdi," a Twitter user said.

"Shukri Abdi’s life mattered too. We need Justice for our little sister, she deserved so so so much more, she also deserved to have a childhood. Please repost and spread awareness," another Twitter user said.

Shukri came to the UK with her mother and four siblings after they fled the conflict in Somalia. Shukri was born and brought up in a refugee camp in Kenya.

She and her family moved to the UK as part of the vulnerable persons resettlement scheme, in which refugees are vetted by the UN.

Only the most vulnerable individuals and families are accepted onto the scheme.

"She had a beautiful personality," Shukri's teacher, Paul Greenhalgh said. "Always smiling, always wanting to please people and work hard."

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