Good News comes from New Zealand, after Behrouz Boochani, Kurdish journalist from Iran who fled persecution and attempted to seek safety in Australia, has finally been granted asylum after six agonizing years in Australia’s offshore detention centres on Manus Island (Papua New Guinea), beginning in 2013.
His detention was the result of the Australian government’s cruel and unlawful asylum policies, which involved sending thousands of asylum seekers to Pacific Island nations of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Nauru. Amnesty International’s research found that the conditions for people trapped in these centres amounts to torture under international law.
Behrouz gained a reputation as a journalist and human rights defender by talking about violations in the press and social media throughout his ordeal. He published over 100 news articles from detention, including his autobiographical book, No Friend But The Mountains, published in July 2018 while he remained detained.
Executive Director of Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, Meg de Ronde said, “Today is a day for celebration. Today is the first day in Behrouz’s life that he is free. Free from the persecution of the Iranian authorities simply because he is Kurdish. Free from the deliberate cruelty of the Australian government. Free from the physical and mental abuse of the PNG guards. Free from the crushing injustice of being denied his rights. Free to heal. Free to be who he is. Free to become whoever he wants to be.”
Amnesty activists have campaigned for years alongside coalition partners and the refugees detained on Manus Island and Nauru to end this humanitarian crisis.