UPDATE (24 July 2020): We warmly welcome the news that award-winning writer Behrouz Boochani has had his refugee status formally recognised by New Zealand.
Writer Paul Ewen, who performed for Behrouz Boochani during the 2019 English PEN Modern Literature Festival, is among those to welcome the news:
Over the moon to hear that Behrouz has had his refugee status formally recognised by New Zealand and granted a visa to live there. Wonderful news!
As a New Zealander, now living abroad, I am proud that Behrouz has finally been offered the respect, security and humanity that he has sought for so long.
Behrouz, I hope you will continue to feel welcomed in New Zealand, and that you may eventually feel properly settled and at home.
English PEN is overjoyed at the news that journalist Behrouz Boochani is free and that he has arrived safely in New Zealand
I just arrived in New Zealand. 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.— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) November 14, 2019
More than six years after being forcibly transferred to Manus Island, award-winning writer, film-maker and journalist Behrouz Boochani arrived in New Zealand on 14 November 2019 where he will be taking part in an event at Word Christchurch.
Behrouz Boochani has been a key case of concern for PEN during his in detention. Earlier this year, PEN centres and supporters around the world came together to raise his case on World Refugee Day (20 June 2019) and he was among the writers highlighted at the 2019 English PEN Modern Literature Festival, hosted by the Greenwich Book Festival.
Writer Paul Ewen, who performed in solidarity with Behrouz at the festival, sent the following message:
Wonderful news. (Particularly special to hear that Christchurch, my former home town, is acting as host.)
Behrouz, all the very best with your onward journey. May you be warmly welcomed wherever you go.
With much respect,
Thank you to everyone that supported Behrouz Boochani while on Manus, and please do continue to read and share his extraordinary writing, including the award-winning No Friend But The Mountains, translated by Dr Omid Tofighian and published in the UK by Picador.