Victimisation of refugees has serious consequences for society and democracy, Kurdish journalist and human rights campaigner Behrouz Boochani warned in the Peter Conway Memorial Lecture on the 4th July. More than 150 people attended in person at Victoria University and via livestream.
Drawing from his own experience in detention for more than five years on Manus Island, Behrouz noted that the propaganda and deliberate secrecy of successive governments undermined democracy and rule of law and contributed to the mindsets of people like the Australian responsible for the Christchurch Mosque massacre.
We need to understand the damage done and guard against such political opportunism here in Aotearoa New Zealand. Refugees are just ordinary people seeking a new life.