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Jailed Kurdish writer wins Australian award

Jailed Kurdish writer wins Australian award

Canberra: An Iranian-Kurdish journalist and writer, who has spent the past six years at a migrant detention centre, was on Monday named the winner of the National Biography Award, one of Australia's most important literary prizes.

Behrouz Boochani remains a refugee at an offshore facility on the island of Manus, located in northern Papua New Guinea, and wrote the book "No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison" through WhatsApp messages, reports Efe news.

The work, which recounts the journalist's experience at the Australian detention centre, where he has been kept since 2013, has been described by the judges as a testament to resistance.

"The book is profoundly important, all the more so because of the means of its production, an astonishing act of witness, and testament to the lifesaving power of writing as resistance," said the State Library of New South Wales, which gives the award.

"I don't want to talk about literature, I would (just) like to say that I think the literature community as a part of Australia's civil society are part of our resistance in front of this system, and I think it is very valuable, and I do appreciate everyone for recognizing my work," Boochani said in a message tweeted by the Library.

The Iranian-Kurdish journalist, who is waiting to be welcomed by a third country, earlier this year won the Victorian Premier's Literary Prize for Non-Fiction, organised by The Weeler Centre, for the same book.

The Manus detention centre closed in 2017, but Boochani is part of a group of about 600 men who remain on the island in refugee camps without being able to go to Australia, as it refuses to accommodate migrants who tried to enter the country by sea.

In 2012, Australia resumed its policy of detaining undocumented immigrants in third countries and under conditions that have been criticized as inhuman by international agencies, including the United Nations.

Many of the refugees and asylum seekers who tried to enter Australia by sea have fled conflicts such as those in Afghanistan, Darfur, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria, while others have escaped discrimination and persecution, such as the Rohingya minority in Myanmar or the Bidoon in the Gulf. 


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