20 Jan 2005

Fiji gives citizenship concession to hundreds of Banabans

7:20 am on 20 January 2005

Over 600 stateless people originally from Kiribati but living in Fiji for decades are being given a chance to acquire citizenship.

The Fiji cabinet has given them a three-month grace period during which they can obtain Fiji citizenship through naturalisation without paying the normal fees.

The people came to Fiji from Ocean Island or Banaba in Kiribati and have been living on Rabi Island near Vanua Levu.

The first group moved to Fiji after Ocean Island was devastated both by phosphate mining and then during the Second World War.

Some Banabans moved to Fiji during the early 70s and then in the 80s.

A government statement says those who don't take up Fiji citizenship during the three-month grace period will be required to comply with the usual conditions of naturalisation.