by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
In fear of their children’s exposure to developing immunities in Kiribati, a family has overstayed their visa and has now appealed to stay in New Zealand while waiting a decision from the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
Ioane Teitiota and Angua Erika with their three New Zealand-born children have lost their refugee status. The family believed to be the world’s first climate change refugees, who overstayed their visa, have launched their appeal to stay in New Zealand.
Since 2011, Teitiota has been battling the deportation of the family back to Kiribati. In his last appearance in the Supreme Court in July, the court ruled while Kiribati undoubtedly faced challenges, Teitiota did not face serious harm if he returned home.
Meanwhile, the family lawyer, Michael Kidd is asking for a stay of any deportation order for the family until further results are given by the United Nation’s Human Rights Committee
Kidd says “Teitiota’s moral argument is that he is blameless in the destruction of his country, and there needs to be recognition by surrounding countries such as New Zealand that these people need to be offered some sort of asylum or refugees status”.
He added that this is the last legal avenue for the family as they were nervous and insecure and felt their safety stay of their children were not guaranteed in Kiribati as they have never lived in Kiribati.