Fiji will offer refuge if need arises, says PM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with members of the Fijian community in Funafuti, Tuvalu on Monday night.Picture:AQELA SUSU

PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama assured the people of Tuvalu that if industrial nations continued to put their own interests above the plight of Pacific people affected by climate change, “Fiji will offer a home to you”.

Speaking during the opening of the Climate Change Sautalaga at Funafuti, Tuvalu on Monday, Mr Bainimarama revealed he had made the same offer to Fiji’s neighbour Kiribati.

“Standing shoulder to shoulder, Fiji, Tuvalu and our Pacific Island neighbours intend to do everything humanly possible to get the world to take the decisive action needed to save low-lying atolls like Tuvalu from the rising sea levels and extreme weather events associated with climate change,” he said.

“But if God forbid that effort fails because the industrial nations continue to selfishly put their own interests above our own, Fiji will offer a home to you — the people of Tuvalu.

“This is obviously not our preferred option or yours. Because natural justice demands that you continue to live in the place you call home, the islands you love, and the islands of your ancestors.

“But in the Fijian spirit of loving and open hearts, we are determined that you not be climate refugees. ”

In a worst-case scenario, we will offer you refuge among us so that at the very least, you remain close to where you rightly belong.”

Mr Bainimarama said the world must not turn its back on the people of Tuvalu, Kiribati or the Marshall Islands or on those living in other climate vulnerable parts of the planet.

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