A high-profile refugee who was detained by Australia for six years has been granted asylum in New Zealand.
Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian Kurd, has lived in Christchurch since fleeing Australia’s island detention in 2019.He had initially sought asylum in Australia in 2013, arriving by boat, but was taken to Papua New Guinea under Australia’s hardline asylum policy.
There he became a leading voice for those detained and drew attention to their poor conditions in the camps.
His experiences – which he documented on Twitter and elsewhere – helped focus international attention on Australia’s remote detention centers in the Pacific where asylum seekers can be held for an indefinite period of time.
More than 400 asylum seekers remain in Australia’s two controversial offshore detention sites, located on PNG’s Manus Island and the island nation of Nauru.
Boochani said he finally felt relief and a sense of security about his future.