By CAM LUCADOU-WELLS
KHODAYAR Amini should not have died in vain, a moving service in a Dandenong park was told on 24 October.
More than 200 mourners laid flowers and lit candles at the spot in Robert Booth Reserve where the Afghan asylum seeker self-immolated under trees six days earlier.
The service was organised by members of the Hazara community, since Mr Amini had no family or friends in Dandenong.
Speakers included student Kobra Moradi, Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams and Greater Dandenong councillor Matthew Kirwan.
Cr Kirwan told the service Mr Amini’s death was “senseless and preventable”, and highlighted the need to change the way asylum seekers were treated.
“That someone because they fear of being returned to immigration detention and to be sent back to Afghanistan could take their own life is to me, not acceptable.
“That someone’s mental health can be damaged to the point where they see taking their own life as the only solution is to me, not acceptable.”
Cr Kirwan called for the end to mandatory detention, and for a “fair and just processing system that doesn’t leave (asylum seekers) waiting in limbo for years.”
“Let’s hope that Khodayar’s death is not in vain.”
Human rights activist John Gulzari told the Journal he hoped that something positive could flow for the 30,500 asylum seekers on bridging visas in the community.
He was not sure if there would be a formal funeral service for Mr Amini, whose remains were being investigated by the state Coroner’s office.