Journalist Behrouz Boochani Arrives In New Zealand After Leaving PNG
Behrouz Boochani, an award-winning author, journalist, and poet, has arrived in New Zealand after leaving PNG, where he has been in offshore detention for six years.
After being held in Australia's offshore detention centre for six years, the Kurdish Iranian refugee and journalist left on Thursday.
"I just arrived in New Zealand," Boochani said on Twitter.
"So exciting to get freedom after more than six years. I have been invited by Word Festival in Christchurch and will participate in an event here.
"Thank you to all the friends who made this happen."
Dr Graham Thom, Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Adviser said the organisation was "delighted" that Boochani has been allowed to travel outside of Papua New Guinea.
“Behrouz arriving in New Zealand illustrates the bizarre hypocrisy of the Australian Government’s decision to block vulnerable refugees trapped for seven years from getting to freedom," he said in a statement.
"Amnesty has worked tirelessly with partners to help refugees from Nauru and Papua New Guinea to get to the USA, Canada, Switzerland and other places in Europe.
Boochani came to international prominence by documenting his time spent in the detention centre through hundreds of articles, interviews, a film, and an award-winning book, 'No Friend but the Mountains'.
Boochani wrote the book on WhatsApp while in detention, and told 10 daily last year he was "scared of the authorities" taking his property.
"I was scared of the authorities, the guards. Anytime they could come and take our property. Imagine if I wrote my book on paper and lost it," the Iranian journalist and refugee said.
"That's why I decided to write on WhatsApp and send it. When I sent messages, I felt relieved, because I was sure my friend saved them."
Boochani will be speaking at the WORD Christchurch event held on November 29 in New Zealand.
WORD Christchurch is a literary festival that partners with the Auckland Writers Festival and Christchurch Arts Festival to bring literary events with visiting and local authors.