A Pregnant New Zealand Journalist In Afghanistan Has Been Allowed To Return Home

Charlotte Bellis poses with her partner Jim Huylebroek in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP photo)
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Charlotte Bellis poses with her partner Jim Huylebroek in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP photo)

Highlights

  • Charlotte Bellis reapply for a seat in the country's overcrowded quarantine hotels, the government provision seemed to a backdown by New Zealand.
  • Bellis stated in a statement that she will be travelling to her native country of New Zealand at the starting of March to give birth to their baby girl.

A pregnant New Zealand journalist, Charlotte Bellis, 35 years old who was trapped in Afghanistan as a result of her home country's Covid-19 border policy recently announced that she will return home after her government eventually gave her a way out.

After officials had previously requested that Charlotte Bellis reapply for a seat in the country's overcrowded quarantine hotels, the government provision seemed to a backdown by New Zealand. Bellis had been provided a room voucher, according to Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson.

Bellis stated in a statement that she will be travelling to her native country of New Zealand at the starting of March to give birth to their baby girl. They are ecstatic to be back home and surrounded by family and friends at such a momentous time. Few days back, she added that every day was a challenge. She said she had tried unsuccessfully to enter New Zealand via a lottery system and then applied for an emergency return, but was denied.

Bellis expressed her gratitude to fellow New Zealanders for their support and stated that she will continue to push the government to seek a solution to the country's border controls. She also expressed disappointment that the decision was one-off and did not provide a way home for other pregnant New Zealanders. She is presently 25 weeks pregnant.

The new offer was offered to Bellis because Afghanistan was exceedingly dangerous and there was a potential of terrorism, according to Chris Bunny, the chief of New Zealand's quarantine system. He claimed that, especially since the withdrawal of US forces last year, there was a limited ability to assist civilians on the ground.

They recognise that Ms Bellis believes herself safe and did not request an allocation based on that, Bunny stated. Bunny stated that the case's notoriety was not a deciding factor, and that Bellis' safety was the only priority. In rare and extraordinary cases, they have the residual discretion to grant allocations.

She had previously worked for Al Jazeera, a Qatar-based news organisation, as an Afghanistan correspondent. Since it is unlawful to be pregnant and unmarried in Qatar, she resigned in November. Bellis then travelled to Belgium in the hopes of obtaining residency in the country of her partner, freelance photographer Jim Huylebroek, who had spent the previous two years in Afghanistan. However, Bellis said that the length of the process would have resulted in her being stuck in Belgium with an expired visa.

Meanwhile, traveling from country to country on tourist visas as she awaited her baby would have cost her money and leaving her without health care, so she and Huylebroek went to Afghanistan since they had a visa, were welcomed, and could fight her battle to return to her home country from there.

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