Ioane Teitiota says climate change has left him and his family no place to relocate on the island nation, Radio New Zealand reported Wednesday.
His attorney told the Immigration Protection Tribunal that Kiribati, a chain of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, is being destroyed by sea-level rise and that its water is being contaminated by salt and sewage.
The tribunal ruled that Teitiota's claim were credible but did not meet criteria of the Refugee Convention.
The asylum case demonstrates the Refugee Convention needs to be updated, the attorney said.
The judge's ruling is expected within two weeks.
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