A Myanmar man who threw himself into a freight car off the coast of New Zealand will be allowed to stay in South Africa while his case is being considered by immigration officials.
A 27-year-old man was rescued last week from the east coast of New Zealand's North Island, near the town of Gisborne.
Identified by the New Zealand Herald as Min Naing, the man told the newspaper he was "just waiting to die" after the water soaked in the immersion suit he had been wearing for hours. NBC News could not be reached for comment.
He said his family was part of a small Hindu group in Myanmar with a large Buddhist population, which the military took over in February, and that they had taken part in anti-democratic protests against the military. He said he feared for his life when he returned.
Min Naing could not be reached for comment by NBC News.
New Zealand police say they began a search and rescue operation on November 2 after a man, a member of staff, was reported missing on a ship. He had last been seen riding the day before.
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Andrew Gaddum, Eastland Group's regional infrastructure officer at Gisborne Harbor, said port workers had rescued the man about a mile and a half from the shore.
“Our crew on pilot Rere Moana's boat left at 3:30 p.m. and they were very happy and relieved to see him floating in the water an hour later, ”he said.
Officials later said the man was in police custody and had been hospitalized with hypothermia.
Fiona Whiteridge, general manager of refugees and immigrants at Immigration New Zealand, confirmed on Thursday that the man was in the country "and could legally reside here while they continue their immigration procedures to determine if they can stay in New Zealand."
The agency did not say whether we had received any asylum application, citing confidentiality laws. The man's lawyers in New Zealand declined to comment.
Since the military took power on February 1, ousting democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, hundreds of thousands of people across Myanmar have been displaced by the violence, while major protests have been met with deadly forces.
Protesters joined protests in Yangon, Myanmar, in July. AFP via Getty Images file
James Kariuki, Britain's United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said this week the military formation in the northwestern state of China was similar to its 2017 mission before the massive violence against the Rohingya, a small Muslim group persecuted by the Myanmar government long ago.
Human rights groups claim that the human condition is rapidly deteriorating. Martin Griffiths, United Nations Secretary-General, said this week more than three million people needed help.
"They are in a very dangerous situation," said Shamsul Alam, a member of the Myanmar Rohingya community living in Auckland, New Zealand. "They need to be rescued."
Tin Ma Ma Oo, a spokesman for Democracy for Myanmar Working Group New Zealand, said Min Naing's amazing arrival may not be the last of its kind.
"We have a lot of emails and messages," he said. “People ask in despair: We would like to come to New Zealand, how can we go there? Even if we have to do any kind of work, what do we need to do? We just took it out. ”
"We had one of the crew send me a text message saying, 'I'm currently working on a boat, and if I jump in the boat, do you think I can ask for asylum?'"
The group is asking Parliament to allow the resettlement of 1,000 Myanmar refugees and their New Zealand families. New Zealand has an annual population of 1,500 refugees, the lowest number among Western democracies and refugee lawyers and the Burmese community of New Zealand who say the country should consider an increase due to the Myanmar crisis.
Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish-Iranian writer and New Zealand refugee lawyer, said the country has the potential to do more.
New Zealand "should bear more responsibility as a developing country" to support victims of human rights abuses, especially those fleeing persecution, said Boochani, who spent years in Australia's highly criticized anti-asylum program.
Alexander Gillespie, a professor of international law at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, said he did not expect that to happen, noting that New Zealand did not follow the United States and Australia in expanding its territory to accommodate people fleeing the recent Taliban occupation. Afghanistan.
"If we can get more quota with Afghanistan, I think we are less likely to get one with Myanmar," he said.
CORRECTION (Nov. 12, 2021, 02:45 a.m. ET): The previous article in this article discusses the current state of affairs in Myanmar. He may apply for asylum in New Zealand, but it is unclear if he is doing so at the moment.