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Fiji Citizenship granted to Tuvaluans in Kioa
Friday, December 16, 2005
Fijitimes.com

THE 635 citizenship granted to Rabi and Kioa islanders cost $1.05million.

Home Affairs Minister Josefa Vosanibola yesterday handed over to Rabi Council chairman Teatu Rewi the 600 citizenship certificates for Rabi islanders who came to Fiji between 1975 and 1983.

Mr Vosanibola said most of the Rabi islanders were living illegally in Fiji until yesterday when the Government recognised their economic and social contribution to Fiji.

The Rabi islanders who received their citizenship yesterday were part of the 15,000 Pacific islanders brought to Fiji as labourers since 1891.

For Rabi islanders alone, it cost $1m to grant citizenship, which the Rabi Council could not meet.

Mr Vosanibola said since three generations of Rabi islanders have flourished in Fiji the Government had agreed to foot the bills for citizenship application fees.

He will hand over 35 citizenship certificates to Kioa islanders today.

Mr Vosanibola said Kioa islanders were originally from Tuvalu and came to Fiji on their own accord.

A survey was done by the Kioa Island Council to find out why Tuvaluans left their homeland in the first place.

Tuvaluans migrated to Fiji and settled on Kioa Island in 1976.

Mr Vosanibola said with the threat of rising sea levels in Tuvalu, many Kioa islanders decided against returning to their home island.

He said the granting of citizenship to Rabi and Kioa islanders was based on moral and humanitarian grounds.

The handing over of the citizenship papers was also celebrated with the 60th anniversary of the first landing of Banabans on Rabi Island.

Lands Minister Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu said it was a historic occasion for Rabi islanders, when they had become Fiji citizens.

"My humble advice to all our dear brothers and sisters is to be proud of your identity.

"Be proud of who you are not only in Rabi, not only in Cakaudrove, not only in Fiji but in the Pacific.

"Nurture and always ensure to protect your culture," Ratu Naiqama said.

Meanwhile, the Tui Cakau donated cooking utensils two days ago to Dakuniba Village on Vanua Levu and Dreketi Village on Qamea Island.

The donation was part of the Small Grant Scheme handled by Ratu Naiqama's ministry.

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THE 635 citizenship granted to Rabi and Kioa islanders cost $1.05million.

Home Affairs Minister Josefa Vosanibola yesterday handed over to Rabi Council chairman Teatu Rewi the 600 citizenship certificates for Rabi islanders who came to Fiji between 1975 and 1983.

Mr Vosanibola said most of the Rabi islanders were living illegally in Fiji until yesterday when the Government recognised their economic and social contribution to Fiji.

The Rabi islanders who received their citizenship yesterday were part of the 15,000 Pacific islanders brought to Fiji as labourers since 1891.

For Rabi islanders alone, it cost $1m to grant citizenship, which the Rabi Council could not meet.

Mr Vosanibola said since three generations of Rabi islanders have flourished in Fiji the Government had agreed to foot the bills for citizenship application fees.

He will hand over 35 citizenship certificates to Kioa islanders today.

Mr Vosanibola said Kioa islanders were originally from Tuvalu and came to Fiji on their own accord.

A survey was done by the Kioa Island Council to find out why Tuvaluans left their homeland in the first place.

Tuvaluans migrated to Fiji and settled on Kioa Island in 1976.

Mr Vosanibola said with the threat of rising sea levels in Tuvalu, many Kioa islanders decided against returning to their home island.

He said the granting of citizenship to Rabi and Kioa islanders was based on moral and humanitarian grounds.

The handing over of the citizenship papers was also celebrated with the 60th anniversary of the first landing of Banabans on Rabi Island.

Lands Minister Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu said it was a historic occasion for Rabi islanders, when they had become Fiji citizens.

"My humble advice to all our dear brothers and sisters is to be proud of your identity.

"Be proud of who you are not only in Rabi, not only in Cakaudrove, not only in Fiji but in the Pacific.

"Nurture and always ensure to protect your culture," Ratu Naiqama said.

Meanwhile, the Tui Cakau donated cooking utensils two days ago to Dakuniba Village on Vanua Levu and Dreketi Village on Qamea Island.

The donation was part of the Small Grant Scheme handled by Ratu Naiqama's ministry.

 

 

 

 

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