Fiji Islander refused refugee status
A Fiji national has not been granted refugee status in New Zealand, despite his island being destroyed by phosphate mining and claims that he will be tortured if he is sent home.
The majority of phosphate mined in Banaba (formally Ocean Island) was between the two world wars, and ended up on farms in New Zealand. The 703 people residents of the island were forced to re-settle on Rabi Island in Fiji by the British in 1945, reports the website Stuff.co.nz.
The British forced the Fijians to leave Rabi to allow the Banabans to move there. However today they are Fiji citizens and the island is a part of Kiribati.
The national is a 45-year-old father of five, known only as "BG". He was born on Rabi island and moved to New Zealand in 2006. Facing deportation, he requested refugee status from the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, but was refused.
BG claims that Banabans in Fiji inhabit the lowest rung on the socio-economic ladder. Also ultra-nationalist Fijians, who have been linked to coups in 1987 and in 2000, have put pressure on Banabans that Rabi be returned to Fijians. There are now around 5000 Banabans, but they have been attached by ethic Fijians and they have also been stopped from fishing in waters near to their island.
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