Where is Habiburahman now?
Habib, though, left the scene 18 years ago, aged 19 – well before the violence accelerated. After fleeing Myanmar he passed through Thailand and Malaysia where he faced further discrimination and violence. In 2009, Habib tried to reach Australia by boat and despite being recognised within months as a genuine refugee, Habib spent nearly three years in Australian immigration detention centres awaiting citizenship.
Protesting the delays, Habib staged a rooftop protest and a hunger strike on the roof of a building at the Darwin Detention Centre. Habib was convicted of damaging commonwealth property and in turn was denied a protection visa on the basis he failed the ‘character test’, and was placed on a removal pending bridging visa. In 2012 Habib was released.
Habib was asked to address European Parliament to speak about his people’s plight, however due to his visa conditions he is prohibited to leave the country, or re-enter if he does, and is now pleading with the Australian government to grant him a travel visa.
Habib’s book, First They Erased Our Name, cowritten with French author Sophie Ansel, chronicles his story and the story of the Rohingyas, and will be published in Australia on 6 August.