25 Sep 2013

NZ rejects Kiribati climate change refugee bid

7:02 pm on 25 September 2013

A Kiribati man has again failed to convince New Zealand authorities that he deserves refugee status because of changes to his environment due to climate change.

The Kiribati man had been declined refugee status, and was appealing against that decision.

Don Wiseman reports.

"In his appeal, the man argues that there is no land anywhere in Kiribati for him and his family to relocate and avoid the onset of sea-level rise. The man says he is aware the Kiribati government is taking what steps it could, including buying land in Fiji to grow crops and building seawalls, but it is powerless to stop sea-level-rise. His wife stated her concerns for the health and wellbeing of their family if they return to Kiribati, as land is being eaten away by sea-level rise, water is contaminated by salt, and crops are dying. The Immigration Protection Tribunal says while the man's claims are credible and accepted, his claim under the Refugee Convention must fail. It says this is because the sad reality is the effects of environmental degradation on his standard of living are, by his own admission, faced by the population generally."