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Deportees often feel like aliens in communities and societies

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 15/03/2017

A Tongan deportee says, they sometimes feel they are aliens from another planet living in the society because they feel they are not being loved and respected when returning home.

A 52-year-old father from Houma – Tevita Sitani shared his emotional story with Radio Tonga News as Tonga is hosting a conference for deportees.

Tevita was deported to Tonga in May 2013.

He said if the deportee is welcomed with an open mind and a warm heart by families, relatives and communities, he will adapt to the environment and will cause no harm to the communities, BUT if families do not treat him well and have negative attitudes such as calling them names and making fun of them, some will be offended and become offenders to the society.

However, some deportees are respected in communities and churches as they hold high ranks in organizations and churches and they have set great examples for the younger generations.

This is not the first-time issues regarding deportees are raised as Sioeli Tu’ifua asked the public to never use the word “deportee” on them but to use returning home, because they are offended when they are being referred to, as deportees.

Sione Nuku Kata district officer of Nukunuku said they are working with Police, church leaders and related stake holders to seek ways to work with the deportees in various development activities of districts and the nation.

This includes using their expertise and experiences in various sectors in the communities.

He also said, the communities should accept the deportees as some of them went overseas seeking financial help and overstayed and some committed crimes and were deported back home.

He added more than 40 deportees are residing in the Nukunuku district.

A National Deportation Reconnecting Conference is currently underway in Nuku’alofa to discuss ways to find solutions to growing concerns in Tonga relating to integration of deportees with members of the diplomatic corps of Australia and New Zealand as well as the US Ambassador Tonga, resident in Fiji.        

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