25 May 2013

Call for legal framework for natural disaster refugees movement

9:45 am on 25 May 2013

A climate change activist says it is vital that a durable legal framework is put in place for the movement of people over borders after natural disasters.

The Kiribati Climate Action Network's Penilesi Alofa says the mistakes made with the relocation of the Banaban people to Rabi in Fiji must never be repeated.

Ms Alofa, who is from Banaba, says the Banaban people were forced, without consultation, to undergo two relocations immediately after the Second World War.

Ms Alofa was speaking at the consultations in the Cook Islands on the Nansen Initiative which aims to provide a legal framework for people forced by natural disasters to cross borders.

She wants her concerns written into such a law.

"We do not want to move you know. People do not want to move away from their homes, but what if it is going to happen. We are happy that we are already discussing it so that people are emotionally ready before they move. We will do whatever to stay - adaptation, you know, to stay, but if we have to move we should move with dignity."