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Former East Timor President Welcomes Deported Kiribati Man

by Juanita Nonwo – EM TV Online

Ioane Teitiota, a Kiribati national who failed to be recognised as a climate change refugee in New Zealand, has been welcomed by the former East Timor president, Jose Ramos-Horta.

The former president is offering his house for Ioane to stay in and to help him find a job.

Dr Ramos-Horta, who is now a United Nations special representative, expressed his disappointment towards New Zealand’s action – how a country he admires, could be heartless enough to deport a “climate change refugee”.  

Dr Ramos-Horta, on his Facebook page asked for a way to get in contact with the 39 year old Ioane Teitiota.

“I am happy to welcome this first ever climate refugee in my country; he and family are welcome. I will pay his airfare to Timor-Leste. And he can stay over at my home for a while until we get him a job and a home,” Dr Ramos-Horta said.

Mr Teitiota was living with his family and working in New Zealand when his work visa expired in 2010; he argued that going back to Kiribati would put his family’s health at risk.

However, the government refused to intervene in his long running case and he lost the court battle to be granted refugee status.

He was deported on Wednesday back to Kiribati.

Teitiota’s wife and their three year old New Zealand-born child will be following following Ioane back to Kiribati sometime in the coming week.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key, commented that he did not consider Ioane Teitiota to be a climate change refugee but rather, an over stayer.

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