Police to bury abandoned babies, support hatch programme

The Ministry of Police will give a proper burial to two babies recently found dead and abandoned.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer , the Commissioner of Police - who revealed he is still "reeling" from the cases - also threw his support behind a "baby hatch" programme that would allow children to be abandoned without fatal consequences. 

“If [parents] don’t claim it and through the Ministry’s goodwill we will conduct the burial ourselves. We cannot leave the innocent little human beings in the morgue; it [is] just, for the Ministry to lay them to rest," Commissioner Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil said. 

“We are eagerly waiting for the families or someone to come forward and if not, soon enough we will put these little angels to rest, through a proper burial.

“We will cover the cost, it does not matter but the fact is that it is the right thing to do.” 

Samoa was shocked last week Saturday after news emerged that the second body of dead newborn baby girl was found dumped next to a trash bin at the Mulifanua Wharf. 

It was the second confirmed case of an abandoned child being found dead in the past month. The body of another infant was found floating in on the water at Lauli'i; an investigation by village authorities concluded the child was abandoned by someone from outside the village. 

“It is shocking that no one has come forward to claim the bodies of these babies. I am shocked and still reeling from this unreal situation," the Commissioner said.  

“These are babies for crying out loud. It is disappointing they are willing to save face and leave the bodies of these babies in the morgue.”

The Commissioner who is distraught said it is mind boggling that it’s been a more than a month since the first baby was found and no one has come forward. 

The Commissioner also commended the move and is supportive of the move to establish a baby hatch programme, which has been successful in other parts of the world. 

He also urged members of the public to drop off the babies at the Police Station, Fire Station or a local hospital. 

“No questions [asked], just drop them off, give them to a Police Officer or a fireman, but do not dispose them like they are not human beings,” he said while reminding that Samoa is a Christian Nation. 

“Samoans are known for their compassion and love, please stick to these principles and do what is right and drop the babies off to the police station; and it is happening too often."

According to the Commissioner the baby hatch programme has been highly successful across America. 

“I am all for it to save the lives of the young ones. There are a lot of people out there looking to adopt children, they will be more than happy to take in that child. So don’t dispose them, but please drop them off," he said. 

He said the baby hatch program, should be implemented and it should be a collaborative effort by the relevant Ministries. 

“We will support that initiative to save lives and because this is happening too often, we must act immediately," he said. 

The baby hatch idea was first proposed by the Vice President of the National Council of Churches, Reverend Aisoli Iuli. 

Last week he called for a response to cases of newborn babies being fatally abandoned such as the provision of safe hatches allowing infants to be abandoned safely. 

He said the Samoa Government to consider a baby hatch or baby box programme in response to the problem.

“A place where mothers can bring babies, usually newborn, and abandon them anonymously in a safe place to be found and cared for, something has to be done,” said Reverend Aisoli.

“It happens in other parts of the world and it is how we address it that matters.” 

Reverend Aisoli Iuli said the weekend's incident and last month's demand a response.

“Women will go to great lengths to save face and shame motivates the inclination to hide and murder the baby by abandonment," he said. 

“This is murder and it should be addressed at all levels.

“We need to pray and act to address this at the grassroots level, in the villages, families and in the Church."

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