After Golriz Ghahraman said she will stand down as an MP following allegations of shoplifting, 1News takes a look at her life and career, and her recent downfall.

Ghahraman was born in Iran and arrived in New Zealand with her family as a child refugee in 1990.

She attended Auckland Girls’ Grammar School and then graduated from the University of Auckland before doing a Masters in International Human Rights Law at Oxford University in the UK.

After working as a criminal defence lawyer in New Zealand, she worked for the United Nations tribunals on Rwanda and Cambodia.

She has been a strong advocate for human rights, including appearing before the Supreme Court to argue cases. Among the issues she campaigned on were justice reform, refugee and migrant rights, and for family carers of disabled people.

In 2017, Ghahraman became a Green list MP, becoming New Zealand’s first MP from a refugee background. She served through the following two Parliaments before being re-elected, again on the list, in last October’s poll.

She revealed in 2020 that she has multiple sclerosis. Her memoir Know Your Place was also published that year, detailing her experiences as a refugee, lawyer and politician.

In 2021 she spoke to Re: News about her life:

She has talked of the threats she has received for taking public positions and the need to have security at times. She has also spoken in Parliament of the many times she was told she wasn’t welcome in New Zealand and didn’t have a right to criticise politicians.

Last year she spoke on TVNZ’s Breakfast of the terror of growing up in Iran:

Ghahraman has been on the Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Defence and Education and Workforce Select Committees. Her focus was on ending New Zealand’s military deployments in the Middle East, climate change, electoral funding reform, voting rights for some prisoners and refugee family reunifications.

Ghahraman was a party spokesperson on a wide range of topics, including the police, trade, women and foreign affairs.

Then this month, several claims that she was involved in shoplifting emerged, leading her to issue a statement today saying she is not well and will be resigning.

Timeline of a downfall

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