27 May 2013

Church body notes progress on disaster refugee framework

1:57 pm on 27 May 2013

The manager of the Pacific Conference of Churches says the weekend's inaugural discussion on a legal framework for refugees from natural disaster made quite impressive progress.

Talks in Rarotonga focussed on the Nansen Initiative which aims to provide legal security for people forced to cross borders by the impact of disasters, such as climate change.

The Pacific Conference of Churches manager, Netani Rika, says organisations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organisation for Migration gave valuable insights into the plight of people displaced by disasters.

He says it means representatives of Pacific governments now have more options available.

"We have a wider range of issues to discuss on the matter of how to build a legal framework and I think they found it will be necessary for Pacific countries to enter into dialogue with each other on how to set up a legal framework for people who might have to move from one country to another, whether in the region or going outside towards Australia or New Zealand."

Netani Rika.