The arrival of a Manus Island refugee in New Zealand has made global headlines after he vowed never to return to the island that hosted an Australian detention centre he was once imprisoned in.
Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish-Iranian refugee and acclaimed journalist, arrived in Christchurch on Friday and has been offered a one-month visa to attend a local literary festival.
He told his more than 47,000 Twitter followers: "I have just arrived in New Zealand. So exciting to get freedom after more than six years."
"I will never go back to that place," Boochani told the Guardian shortly after departing Papua New Guinea, which once hosted the now-demolished Lombrum detention centre run by the Australian Government.
He told the British newspaper he was "very tired" after arriving in New Zealand, but also "glad to be away from that place".
"Everyone in Manus carries so many painful memories, we can never leave them on that island ... but I am happy in my heart: I feel free."
Green MP Golriz Ghahraman, a human rights lawyer, tweeted a picture with Boochani upon his arrival with the caption: "Thrilled and exhausted and free."
The acclaimed author, who will discuss his book No Friend but the Mountains while in Christchurch, may seek asylum in New Zealand or the United States, Al Jazeera reports.
The book, which was written via Boochani's smuggled smartphone detailing his harrowing experience as a refugee on Manus Island, won Australia's Victorian Prize for Literature and has been translated into 15 languages.
Boochani painstakingly uploaded short video segments for Dutch-Iranian filmmaker Arash Kamali Sarvestani to edit into a feature-length documentary that showed audiences a glimpse behind Australia's secretive facilities.
"He's here!" Rachael King, director of the Word Christchurch event, tweeted. "We are honoured to welcome this incredible writer to NZ and to Christchurch."
Boochani has been accepted for asylum in the US, as part of a deal between the two nations to resettle refugees from Australia's two now-closed offshore detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.
He's been in Papua New Guinea's capital Port Moresby ever since the Manus Island facility was shut down, after which he was imprisoned and later moved to accommodation in the city.
Amnesty International NZ executive director Meg de Ronde said the organisation was "thrilled" to assist the UN refugee agency and play a part in supporting the Christchurch event sponsoring Boochani's visa to New Zealand.
"Behrouz is not only a refugee, but a human rights defender whose dedicated journalism from within a detention centre earned him several awards and accolades."
Boochani's journey to Australia in 2013 is told in the Al Jazeera article, detailing how he fled Iran after promoting Kurdish language and culture in the media, and was accused of undermining the Iranian state.
He arrived at the Australian territory of Christmas Island via people smugglers, hoping to be given asylum. But he was instead transferred to Manus Island and denied asylum because of Australia's laws against boat arrivals.
The BBC report took note of New Zealand's offer to resettle 15 refugees from Australia's island detention centres - an offer which has been consistently rejected.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed in February that his government had no plans to take up the offer since it was made in 2013 by the previous National-led Government.
"We appreciate the offer," Morrison said during an Auckland press conference with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. "We appreciate the friendliness of the offer, and its genuineness."
Australia fears that if refugees are given asylum in New Zealand they will end up in Australia anyway because of the Special Category Visa, allowing visa-free travel between both nations.