A Pacific islander whose homeland is threatened by rising seas failed in an attempt to become the world's first climate change refugee Tuesday, with a New Zealand judge dismissing his case as "novel" but "unconvincing". Lawyers for Ioane Teitiota, 37, argued that New Zealand should not deport him even though his visa had expired, because climate change was gradually destroying his low-lying home in Kiribati. In a written ruling handed down on Tuesday, High Court judge John Priestley acknowledged that Kiribati was suffering environmental degradation attributable to climate change, including storm surges, flooding and water contamination. Priestley said the UN Refugee Convention stated that a refugee must fear persecution if they returned home, a criteria Teitiota did not meet.
Australia said Saturday it will take a boatload of asylum-seekers at the centre of a high-seas stand-off with Indonesia to its Indian Ocean outpost of Christmas Island. Australia had requested Indonesia take the group of about 60 people who were picked up by an Australian vessel south of Java on Thursday but Indonesian officials had so far refused. "The Indonesian Government has advised Australian officials overnight that they are reviewing the request put forward by Australia," Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.
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