New Zealand has granted refugee status to a Kurdish-Iranian writer who was held for about six years in an Australian-run offshore detention camp, authorities said Friday.
Behrouz Boochani arrived in New Zealand about eight months ago for a literary festival as a guest speaker and stayed on after his visitor visa expired.
"So, I'm very happy,” he said. “You know for years we look at Australia, New Zealand as hope. But this hope was sometimes was very close but never, we couldn't touch it, you know. So, I think it's very interesting that finally I touch New Zealand, you know, after years. Hopefully, there will be hope for others who are stuck in Port Moresby."
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) general manager for refugee and migrant services, Fiona Whiteridge, said in an email sent to the Reuters news agency that New Zealand has recognized Boochani as a refugee under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugee and its 1967 Protocol.
Boochani was detained on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island after he was picked up and handcuffed on a refugee boat on its way to Australia in 2013.