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Refugee and Author Long Detained by Australia Gets Asylum in New Zealand

2020-07-24 06:56:53
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CAIRNS, Australia — Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish-Iranian refugee and writer who documented abuses under Australia’s tough immigration policies during his yearslong detention on a remote Pacific island, has been granted asylum in New Zealand.

Mr. Boochani has spent the past several months in Christchurch, where he applied for refugee status after being given a temporary visa to attend a writers’ festival last November.

On Thursday — which was also Mr. Boochani’s 37th birthday, and exactly seven years since he was first detained on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea — he received official notification that his application for a one-year working visa in New Zealand had been successful.

Mr. Boochani said he planned to apply for permanent residency, which is a pathway to citizenship. “It’s like the end of a chapter of my life,” he said, adding that his news was bittersweet because he feared for those still being detained by the Australian authorities.

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