Opinions & Features June 20, 2019 at 05:30 pm

Defying the odds, the success story of African refugees who became global icons

Novieku Babatunde Adeola | Staff Writer

Novieku Babatunde Adeola June 20, 2019 at 05:30 pm

June 20, 2019 at 05:30 pm | Opinions & Features

Muhamat holds his award. Pic credit: SBS

Abdul Aziz Muhamat

He was for five and a half years held in an Australian immigration detention centre in Papua New Guinea.

He had fled civil conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region in 2013 and had flown to Indonesia. Muhamat boarded a boat headed to Australia, but the boat was intercepted by Australian officials after six days at sea.

The 25-year-old was forcibly sent to Manus Island, and for over five years, he exposed the “inhumane” and poor living conditions he and his colleague asylum seekers faced at the centre.

Muhamat did this through thousands of WhatsApp messages he sent to a journalist from the centre, who told the story in a podcast. The podcast, called “The Messenger” won best radio/audio feature at Australia’s Walkley Awards in 2017.

Now, for bringing the world’s attention to the harsh realities at the centre under “the very cruel refugee policy” of Australia’s government, Muhamat has been awarded a major international human rights prize.

He was named the winner of the 2019 Martin Ennals Award in the Swiss city of Geneva during a ceremony held on Wednesday night, reports Aljazeera.

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