New Zealand will soon become the first country ever to offer a special visa for climate change refugees. New Zealand is a beautiful known for its greenery. This step taken by the government is a breath of fresh air amidst all the chaos. The visa is currently experimental.
James Shaw, New Zealand’s Climate Change Minister, said that it is a new, experimental visa based on humanitarian values. Many people are displaced because of rising sea levels. People living on islands are the most affected. It is a piece of work the New Zealand government wants to do for the Pacific islands. This decision was made after a controversial incident recently.
Two families from Tulavu had applied for a refugee visa to New Zealand. The government rejected it, raising serious concerns. The two families mentioned increasing water levels, high rate of employment, and lack of clean and potable water as their reasons for seeking refuge. These families were rejected as per New Zealand’s 1951 refuge convention. According to the convention, a refugee can be resisted if they possess a threat to the country because of their race, nationality, and religion.
Tulavu is in danger
Tulavu is an island in the South Pacific Ocean that is only six and a half feet above sea level. It is in an extremely vulnerable condition. Only 10,500 people live on the island.
Recently, the Green Party won the elections in New Zealand. The party is led by Jacinda Ardern, who is NZ’s president elect. Currently, New Zealand is only admitting 1,000 refugees every year. From now on, the country will admit around 5,000 refugees a year for six years.
Many lives are threatened because of rising sea levels. This is the time neighboring countries should come forward and help the people. Climate change is a consequence of human activities and someone else shouldn’t pay the price for our mistake.