New Zealand’s first ‘refugee’ MP Golriz Ghahraman quits over shoplifting allegations

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AUCKLAND: A New Zealand legislator, Golriz Ghahraman, resigned on Tuesday after claims surfaced that she had shoplifted from two clothing stores, which she said were caused by stress and hurt to her mental health, according to The New York Times.

Ghahraman, a 43-year-old former United Nations human rights lawyer from Iran, rose to attention in 2017 as the first refugee to be sworn in as a member of the country’s Parliament.

“I fell short. I’m sorry”, said the lawmaker, Golriz Ghahraman, in a statement on Tuesday, adding that “The best thing for my mental health is to resign as a member of Parliament”.

Ghahraman, who made no mention of theft in her statement, claimed she couldn’t explain her behaviour since it was “not rational in any way”.

Following the medical treatment, she said, “I understand I’m not well”, adding that a mental health specialist she was seeing claimed her behaviour was consistent with “recent events giving rise to extreme stress response”, and was tied to prior trauma, The New York Times reported.

According to James Shaw, a Green Party leader, Ghahraman has been threatened with sexual violence, physical violence and death threats since the day she was elected, and police have been investigating such threats on a regular basis. She was subjected to higher amounts of stress than other parliamentarians, Shaw stated at a news conference on Tuesday, according to The New York Times.

According to the Green Party, Ghahraman has advocated for refugee and migrant rights throughout her career, as well as stopping New Zealand’s military deployments in the Middle East to refocus the country’s defence resources on the climate problem.

In 2020, she stated that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She recently demonstrated her sympathy for the Palestinian people and wore a traditional kaffiyeh scarf in Parliament. (ANI)

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