Feb 2019 | Manus Island refugee No QNK002: Abdul Aziz Muhamat wins international human rights prize

Date: 14 Feb 2019

Source: The Guardian

A Sudanese refugee activist who spent four years in an Australian detention centre has won an international human rights prize for exposing “the very cruel asylum seeker policy of the Australian government”.

Abdul Aziz Muhamat was named the winner of the Martin Ennals award 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

Aziz is a Zaghawa man from the Darfur region of Sudan. In 2013, fleeing the violence of his homeland – a country still beset by brutal civil conflict, famine and drought – Aziz flew to Indonesia, where he boarded a boat bound for Australia.

After six days at sea, he made it. But, from Christmas Island, Aziz was sent to Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. He revealed the conditions of the camp through the podcast The Messenger, which was co-produced by Behind the Wire and Wheeler Centre and published by the Guardian in 2017.

The Messenger was created from more than 3,500 brief WhatsApp messages sent from detention of Aziz telling his story to journalist Michael Green. It documents Aziz’s flight from a war-riven homeland, the perils of his journey by boat, the deterioration and deaths of friends on Manus, and the confusion and frustration at living in detention. It was named one of 2017’s three grand award winners at the New York festival’s International Radio Program awards.