A Pacific Island man trying to flee the rising tides in Kiribati asked a New Zealand court on Wednesday to let him seek asylum as a climate change refugee.
The low-lying island nation of Kiribati is an average 6-1/2 feet above sea level, making it vulnerable to rising waters and other climate change effects, Reuters reported.
Ioane Teitiota, 37, asked New Zealand’s High Court in Auckland to let him appeal a decision that refused him asylum, the report said. The court on Wednesday reserved its decision.
“There’s no future for us when we go back to Kiribati,”argued Teitiota, who came to New Zealand in 2007 and has three children born there.
Teitiota’s lawyer said the refugee laws are outdated.
“The refugee convention which came into effect at the end of the second world war needs to be changed, to incorporate people who are fleeing climate catastrophe, and what’s happening to Kiribati in the next 30 years is a catastrophe,” Michael Kidd told Radio New Zealand.
• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at email@example.com.
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