- BBC News World
New Zealand journalist Charlotte Bellis stated that she was not allowed to return to her home country to give birth.
He wrote that, ironically, he turned to the Taliban for help.
The reporter’s story, who is in Afghanistan waiting for her case to be resolved, highlights the harsh border measures New Zealand has taken to keep the coronavirus out.
The case has sparked controversy in that country, where there are those who disagree with the journalist’s privileged relationship with the Taliban.
They have been consistently criticized for their brutal suppression of women’s rights by arresting, torturing and even killing activists.
The New Zealand government said, on Tuesday, after public interest in the case Bliss was offered a place to quarantine They organize travel plans.
“There is a vacancy in controlled isolation and quarantine for Bliss and I urge you to take it in,” Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said at a news conference on the coronavirus.
Robertson denied that the decision came as a result of focusing on the issue, noting that employees deal with emergency requests on a daily basis.
“They’re always trying to connect with people and trying to make that work.”
What did Charlotte Bellis demand from the Taliban?
In a column he wrote for the newspaper New Zealand HeraldBellis said the New Zealand government last week rejected her request to return and give birth at home.
in this time, The country allows entry to citizens and permanent residents, but only if they have spent 10 days in isolation In hotels suitable for quarantine.
With such facilities in high demand and places limited, many New Zealanders wishing to return found themselves excluded from their country.
Bellis compared this experience to the treatment of the Taliban, whom she called to ask if she could be in Afghanistan as a pregnant and unmarried woman.
Bellis and her partner, a Belgian photojournalist, are in the Afghan capital, Kabul, where they went to cover the withdrawal of US forces.
“You can be and you won’t have a problem. Just tell people you’re married and if you escalate, call us,” Bellis quoted anonymous officials as responding to his request.
“When it is the Taliban who provide you with safe haven, as a pregnant and unmarried woman, you know your situation is in trouble,” she wrote.
Afghan single mothers reported repeated harassment by Taliban officials, pressured to hand over their children and threats to their custody rights.
What was the response to your column?
Since Peles’ letter was published, there have been calls for New Zealand authorities to amend the criteria for allocating emergency quarantines to specifically meet the needs of pregnant women.
New Zealand’s COVID-19 response minister Chris Hepkins defended the policies, saying the system was “working very well for New Zealand, saving lives, hospitalizing and preventing the health system from becoming overwhelmed”.
Bellis said he has also been granted asylum in another country, which he has not named since he declared his battle.
But his story has been criticized by observers, human rights activists, and Afghans themselves.
“The story is just a continuation of how the Taliban treat non-Afghans differently… than Afghans,” Austrian-Afghan journalist Imran Feroz wrote on Twitter.
“Journalists who were seen as Afghans often faced threats, beatings, torture and killings, while non-Afghans… enjoyed many privileges and were welcomed and treated kindly by all sides,” he added.
Recently, there have been calls for the Taliban to release several women’s rights activists, who were arrested after their homes were raided.
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