Refugee wins the Australia’s richest literary prize
Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian asylum-seeker detained in Papua New Guinea under Australian asylum laws has won the Victorian Prize for Literature. Behrouz Boochani was awarded for his work “No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison”.
The astonishing fact is that Boochani wrote the work on his phone and sent it to Omid Tofighian bit-by-bit in text messages. Omid Tofighian is the book’s translator who worked with Boochani over five years to bring the stories to life.
The book “No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison” narrates experiences and fear Boochani felt in the guarded camp, which was shuttered last year after a local court ruling and the asylum-seekers moved elsewhere on the island.
Australia Detention Policy
The Australia Detention Policy deports asylum-seekers who try to enter the country by boat to Manus Island or Nauru in the Pacific for processing, with those found to be refugees barred from resettling in Australia.
The international community is criticising Australia for its attempt to use remote Pacific islands such as Nauru as a ‘dumping ground’ for people seeking asylum and protection by boat to Australia.
This offshore processing policy of Australia is giving rise to a completely avoidable health crisis and needlessly destroying lives due to serious levels of mental illness, trauma, depression, self-harm, sexual assault and suicides.