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I was born again: after 7 and a half years in Australia's immigration detention system

It was the 11th of December 2020. Farhad Bandesh was ready to spend his 39th birthday in detention, when his phone started to ring. A six-month temporary visa was granted to him, and he had ten minutes to give an address of residence to a caseworker. “I was born again,” he said. He was free. 
Bandesh is an artist, a winemaker, and a Kurdish refugee. He is part of a persecuted minority from Iran who has historically suffered from human rights offences and the denying of their cultural rights. In July 2013, he fled his hometown, Ilam, in Kurdish Iran, where he worked as a guitar maker and plasterer. He arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia, a historic rendezvous city for refugees seeking asylum in Australia. Then he sailed for Christmas Island, only to be exiled to Manus Island for six years. The Australian Government, under Labour Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, resumed offshore processing at Nauru and Papua New Guinea in August 2012. Commonly referred as the ‘pacific solution’. Designed as a method of punishment to deter refugees seeking asylum from setting foot on Australian shores. 
Bandesh is one of 200 refugees which had been evacuated from Manus Island for mental health treatment under the Medevac legislation in 2019. With 65 other refugees, he was taken to Melbourne and detained on the third floor of the Mantra hotel in Preston for nine months. He was then transferred to the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation for another eight months before his release.  

This photo essay gives an insight into Bandesh's daily life (from February to May 2021) his first experiences in Australia as a free man, his dreams and ambitions. Moreover, the haunting memories from the past and the future that still didn’t reveal what it holds for him.



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I was born again: after 7 and a half years in Australia's immigration detention system
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