Tuvalu hails UN proposal for environmental refugees
The Voice of New Zealand, Broadcasting to the Pacific
Te Reo Irirangi O Aotearoa, O Te Moana-Nui-A-Kiwa
Posted 18 October, 2005 UTC
Tuvalu has welcomed United Nations proposals which would allow those fleeing
environmental degradation to be designated refugees.
The Tuvalu prime minister, Maatia Toafa, says resettlement is one option for his
people, should the greenhouse effect force up sea-levels and swamp his country.
The United Nations University has recently proposed extending refugee status to
include those escaping environmental damage.
Governments have a legal obligation to accept these people under the terms of
Mr Toafa says if predictions of climate change do indeed come true then Tuvalu
will need international help.
“That is a very sad situation as well, but if we can help it, we will continue
to fight our case, but if we can’t help it then we’ll have to accept what is
best for us.”
Mr Toafa says Tuvalu hasn’t signed any agreements with countries to accept any
of its people.