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The senior coroner should take urgent steps to regain the trust of communities

18 January, 2018

Cllr Abdul Hai

• YOU highlighted the difficulties facing Camden’s faith communities owing to the decisions taken by Inner North London’s Senior Coroner (Move to another area! Top councillor’s rage at coroner in burials row, January 11).

A coroner working in an inner-city area, such as Camden, must respect the diverse needs of its many communities. The role requires that the bereaved of all backgrounds be treated with dignity and respect, tailoring the service upon occasion to meet their specific needs.

One example would be the need for a prompt burial, common in the Muslim and Jewish faiths. And other coroners have demonstrated flexibility in permitting them to go ahead.

The coroner has an obligation to show due regard to the ethnic or religious sensitivities affecting the deceased and their families. Curtailing religious freedoms creates further anguish, and engenders a lack of trust in the system.

Further, it often prompts the regrettable situation whereby the bereaved feel compelled to turn to the courts to protect their civil and religious rights.

On Monday I briefed Sir Keir Starmer MP, Tulip Siddiq MP and Cllr Georgia Gould, the leader of Camden Council, on the current situation.

We discussed an approach to find a resolution to rebuild trust and to create mutual understanding, and I truly hope that the senior coroner will review her position on this matter.

As a cabinet member for cohesion, it is my responsibility to ensure that the rights of religious groups are respected, and they are treated equally by our public services.

As such, I believe that the senior coroner must take urgent and public steps necessary to regain trust. I would urge her to act without delay before the situation becomes irreparable.

Cabinet Member for Young People and Cohesion



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