NATION

People Displaced By Climate Change Not Refugees: Tuvalu PM

  We will not accept Tuvaluans displaced because of climate change to be labeled as ‘refugees’. Tuvaluan Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga made this statement at a press conference in Suva
13 Dec 2016 11:00
People Displaced By Climate Change Not Refugees: Tuvalu PM
Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga.

 

We will not accept Tuvaluans displaced because of climate change to be labeled as ‘refugees’.

Tuvaluan Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga made this statement at a press conference in Suva yesterday,

Mr Sopoanga said they had given a proposal to the United Nations on the protection of the rights of people displaced by climate change.

He said Tuvalu had made the proposal because they believed that people displaced because of the impact of climate change are not refugees.

“We don’t accept the labeling of our people as refugees because they don’t fit under the 1951 Convention of Refugees that deals with people forced out because of political crisis or civil wars,” Mr Sopoaga said.

He said there was a need for an international framework to clarify that matter.

They hoped that the Pacific region can pave a way forward.

Mr Sopoaga said the region needed to work together in order to address the issues of climate change.

He said there also needed to be a clear clarification between people migrating on their own to seek opportunities and people displaced by climate change since they were two different issues.

Mr Sopoaga said now that the Paris Agreement was enforced, it was important the issues of loss and damage were addressed.

“We don’t confuse those two issues, building resilience on the ground, for Tuvalu.

“We are trying our outmost to protect our people so that they don’t have to move, don’t have to be forced to leave our islands.

“There is need to develop a regional approach by people displaced by the effects of climate change, need to regional framework on those issues,” he said.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

 


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