New Zealand grants asylum to the author of the book on detention camps in Australia

Journalist and author Behrouz Boochani had testified that hell lived for six years in the detention camps for migrants in Australia, in a book written with his phone. He has just been granted asylum in New Zealand.

Six years passed before the situation of Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian Kurdish journalist arrested by Australia in a refugee camp in Papua New Guinea, was corrected. The 37-year-old refugee made himself known by testifying about his trial in an award-winning book, written with his mobile phone, from inside the camp. He has just received political asylum in New Zealand, a neighbor of Australia, announced on Friday 24 June the New Zealand Ministry of the Interior.

After six years in prison, Behrouz Boochani managed to reach New Zealand in November 2019 with the help of NGO Amnesty International and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Shipwreck at sea and prison

He had fled Iran in 2013 due to the prosecution of the Kurdish newspaper for which he worked. After a dangerous journey from Indonesia to Australia that ended when his boat sank, the young man was arrested by Australian authorities and placed in a detention camp for migrants on Manus Island in the northeast of the Papua archipelago.

In his book “No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison” (“Testimony of a Prison. From Exile to Literary Awards”), published in 2018, Behrouz Boochani looks back on his career and experience of the offshore camp, where Australia has locked up illegal immigrants for several years and sought to reach their shores, pursuing an immigration policy condemned by human rights organizations.

From 2013, arguing that it saved lives by discouraging migrants from embarking on a dangerous sea voyage, Camberra set out to turn back all illegal boats en route to its shores. Migrants who fell through the cracks were sent to camps in Nauru or Manus under an agreement with Papua New Guinea. They were banned from permanent residence in Australia, even if they met the criteria for asylum.

Today, boat arrivals, once almost daily, have become extremely rare and several of these controversial camps have been closed, including Manus 2017.

Behrouz Boochani – who remained trapped on Manus Island despite the camp’s closure in 2017 – first ended up in Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, in 2019, where he was favored by houses.

Witness a violent migration policy

Suicide, acts of self-harm and psychological suffering … Behrouz Boochani’s book has helped to publish the reality of the living conditions in the Manus camps and the violence suffered by the refugees, including children. It has been assigned.

Her testimony, carefully written on a mobile phone and sent a jerk via WhatsApp to a translator, won the Victoria Prize for Literature last year, Australia’s most richly awarded literary prize.

Behrouz Boochani expressed his relief at the announcement of his refugee status in New Zealand and promised to continue fighting for refugees in his new homeland and further planned to seek a permanent residency title.

He now works as a researcher at the University of Canterbury, based in Christchurch, the large city on the South Island of New Zealand.

With AFP