Pregnant New Zealand journalist Charlotte Bellis who had taken refuge in Afghanistan while awaiting her application to enter New Zealand has been allowed to return home.
Bellis is a freelance journalist, who served as a correspondent for Al Jazeera, among others. She wanted to return to her home country from Qatar, but was not allowed to. Bellis reached out to the media and his case further fueled discussion about New Zealand’s strict entry rules.
Bellis worked in Qatar. However, in this country, it is illegal to be pregnant without being married. She then traveled to Belgium, where her companion is from, but was unable to stay there long enough on a tourist visa. As she had a residence permit for Afghanistan, she contacted the Taliban, who assured her that nothing would happen to her.
The journalist says she will return to her home country in early March. She says she and her partner are happy to be in New Zealand for the birth “and to be surrounded by family and friends during such a special time”.
Although she is now allowed to enter the country, she did not receive permission because she is pregnant, but because of the risk she would face in Afghanistan.
Bellis says in a response that she’s disappointed her pregnancy isn’t reason enough for a comeback. She says she will continue to fight for the government to “find a better way to manage border security”.
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