The Human Rights Commission has called on the Government to increase the quota of Kiribati people granted residence in New Zealand every year.
“75 Kiribati citizens are granted New Zealand residency every year under the Pacific Access Category or PAC,”said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.
“Increasing our PAC Kiribati quota is an immediate and real way we can show leadership, empathy and humanity as a developed Pacific nation.”
International law defines a refugee as a person unable to return to their homeland because they genuinely fear persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group.
While Ioane Teitiota and his New Zealand born children do not meet the legal requirements for refugee or protected person’s status Dame Susan said the Commission remained concerned for his human rights and the humanitarian consequences of requiring his family to return to Kiribati given their circumstances.
“New Zealand may not have a legal responsibility but we have a moral and regional responsibility to support our Pacific cousins,” said Dame Susan.
“No nation prepares to leave their ancestral homeland by choice but that is exactly what Mr Teitiota’s Government is planning. Migration with dignity is something New Zealand can and should help with.”