A pregnant New Zealand (NZ) journalist said she had to turn to the Taliban for help after her country refused to grant her a travel exemption due to its strict COVID-19 border control.
“We’re happy for you, you can come and you won’t have a problem,” Bellis quoted the Taliban officials as saying in response to her request. “They also said, ‘Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.’”
"When the Taliban offers you— a pregnant, unmarried woman—safe haven, you know your situation is messed up."
"I thought back to August, and how brutally ironic it was, that I had asked the Taliban what they would do to ensure the rights of women and girls. And now, I am asking the same question of my own government."
After going public with her situation and preparing a legal response, Bellis said she had received an "unsolicited" email from the NZ authority which said her rejected application was under review.New Zealand’s COVID-19 response minister, Chris Hipkins has defended New Zealand's strict border control, saying there are places in the country's managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) for people with special circumstances like Bellis. The controversy comes as New Zealand's state-run quarantine system faces heightened criticism as Kiwis struggle to return to their country through the MIQ lottery or on emergency grounds.
"The reality is, the risk has changed. If you don't have a set of responses that change to the environment you're in... The risk can go up or down, it's about risk management, essentially," National leader Christopher Luxon said on Tuesday.