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    Kurdish-Iranian writer granted refugee status in NZ

    He tried to arrive in Australia via boat. Instead, he spent nearly six years detained on an island. But as of Friday(July 24), Kurdish-Iranaian writer Behrouz Boochani was granted refugee status by New Zealand. Boochani rose to prominence when he wrote about his experience living in the Manus Island offshore detention camp on his phone — sending out messages via Whatsapp to a translator, that was then published in a book, “No friends but the mountains.” It was awarded Australia’s top literary prize this year. But still there was no change in his status. Instead when he was awarded the prize, he told Reuters over text — “I don’t want to celebrate this achievement while I still see many innocent people suffering around me.” Boochani has been a prominent critic of Australia’s hardline immigration policy. Under Australia’s rules, asylum seekers intercepted as sea are sent for “processing” in camps in Papua New Guinea or the island of Nauru, where many have languished for years — permanently barred from settling in Australia. Eight months ago, he arrived in New Zealand on a visitor’s visa to speak at a literary festival. He then stayed on in Christchurch — depsite his visa expiring. “I am happy that now I have certainty about my future. I’m stable. But in other side of course I cannot fully celebrate this and enjoy this because still this policy exists, still some people are in indefinite detention in Australia, New Zealand’s leader, Jacinda Ardern, has made a longstanding offer to take 150 asylum seekers from Australia’s offshore camps, but the Australian government has refused the offer.
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    World News from Reuters

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