Kiribati man claims to be 'climate refugee', fights to stay in New Zealand
WELLINGTON (AP) - A man from one of the lowest-lying nations on Earth is trying to convince New Zealand judges that he's a refugee - suffering not from persecution, but from climate change.
The 37-year-old and his wife left his remote atoll in the Pacific nation of Kiribati six years ago for higher ground and better prospects in New Zealand, where their three children were born. Immigration authorities have twice rejected his argument that rising sea levels make it too dangerous for him and his family to return to Kiribati.
So on Oct 16, the man's lawyer, Mr Michael Kidd, plans to argue the case before New Zealand's High Court. Mr Kidd, who specialises in human rights cases, told The Associated Press (AP) that he will appeal the case all the way to the country's Supreme Court if necessary.
Legal experts consider the man's case a long shot, but it will nevertheless be closely watched, and might have implications for tens of millions of residents in low-lying islands around the world.