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Kiribati President says climate change refugee status not an issue yet

September 25, 2015 8:19 pm

Kiribati President Anote Tong says climate induced migration is an avenue they will consider over the coming years.

President Tong has clarified his stance on the high profile case of Ioane Teitiota who was deported from New Zealand earlier this week.

Teitiota lost a 4 year fight to stay in New Zealand when his application claiming refugee status because of climate change was denied by the government.

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“The question I’m been asked often is what is the position of the government of Kiribati, well we really have not been talking about any refugees from Kiribati or climate induced migration at this point in time. I’ve been advocating about migration and relocation in time, we are not at a critical stage at this point in time. I think the comment which I heard from the New Zealand government is that is not an issue at this time and that would be correct.”

President Tong says the European refugee crisis is one the Pacific can learn from given the worsening of sea level rise and coastal erosion forecast for the region.

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