For the past six years Behrouz Boochani, like hundreds of others who have sought asylum in Australia, has been imprisoned on Manus Island. In this moving talk, he calls for compassion and freedom, reminding us all that “we are human just like you”. As Behrouz says, “for me, writing and creating is a kind of resistance, it is a way of fighting to get my identity, humanity and dignity back in front of a system that is established to take anything that has meaning of life from us.” Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish journalist, writer, poet and filmmaker. He has been held in Manus Island detention centre since 2013. During his time in detention he has published regularly with The Guardian, and his writing also features in The Saturday Paper, Huffington Post, New Matilda, The Financial Times and The Sydney Morning Heraldcoveringthe plight of his fellow refugees, held by the Australian government on Manus Island.
In 2018 he published his novel — No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison, which won Australia’s most valuable literary award, the $100,000 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature.
His journalism has also been awarded the Amnesty International Australia 2017 Media Award, the Diaspora Symposium Social Justice Award, the Liberty Victoria 2018 Empty Chair Award, and the Anna Politkovskaya Award for journalism. Boochani remains in detention in Manus Island.