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Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] [free report] Have you ever heard about climate refugees?

by Fernanda pioli macedo | 13-08-2020 14:30 Comments 6 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations

The Global Compact on Refugees, adopted by an overwhelming majority in the UN General Assembly in December 2018, recognizes that “climate, environmental degradation, and natural disasters increasingly interact with the drivers of refugee movements”.But according to the international law because refugees are those who cross international borders for race, political, religious motivations so they do not enter on this category, besides, the UN itself is reluctant to amend the Refugee Statute to include new forms of refugee. One argument frequently put forward by the UNHCR is that those displaced as a result of environmental change could, in theory, still rely on the protection of their national governments, while traditional refugees could not, as states are often the source of persecution, thus making an individual 'unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country' as required by Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Refugee Convention.2

The definition gave by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), is ‘environmental migrants’ and refers to: “Person or groups of people who, for compelling reasons of sudden or progressive change in the environment that adversely affects their lives or living conditions, are obliged to leave their habitual homes, or choose to do so, either temporarily or permanently, and who move either within their country or abroad”. 3 Some authors do not consider this designation appropriate, according to them, migrate’ is generally associated with economic issues as reasons to migrate.

Environmental migrants, as well as, other migrant categories, need an international protection regime. The majority of migrants, especially the forced ones, are in an irregular situation once there is lack of an international protection system, they depend on the internal government effort and the States of origin or destination political will, which are often responsible, directly or indirectly, for the violation and limitation of their fundamental rights. They remain doubly exposed, either because they are not recognized as refugees when they leave their country of origin, or because there is no binding international instrument to welcome them.

Thus, the expression “environmental refugees” is adequate to designate a new category, which demands its own legal regime, more comprehensive than the conventional refugee protection regime, though only traditional refugees have systematic international protection. It is worth mentioning that only in exceptional circumstances, the UNHCR (UN refugee agency) assists
displaced persons in other situations of risk, such as natural disaster victims.

It is important to emphasize that although they find international legal protection in the general human rights mechanisms and in the other international protection instruments of the human person in particular situations, it is discussed, in international law and politics, the establishment of a specific normative set for refugee’s global reach. However, the international legal instrument development is quite difficult in view of the specific countries interests in the international arena. Moreover, even if an international treaty (or even a resolution by an international body) is drafted it may be particularly difficult to reach a consensus and it would probably take a very long time to negotiate a completely new instrument encompassing environmental migration. Such lack of consensus at the negotiating stage might lead to ratification gaps which undermine the effectiveness of the treaty. Such events sequence might consequently leave the persons in need of protection back in the legal vacuum where they were initially.4

 [1] Climate change and disaster displacement https://www.unhcr.org/climate-change-and-disasters.html 
[2] The concept of 'climate refugee' Towards a possible definition https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2018/621893/EPRS_BRI(2018)621893_EN.pd f 
[3] Climate change and disaster displacement https://www.unhcr.org/climate-change-and-disasters.html 

[4] Olsson, Louise (2015)Environmental migrants in international law: An assessment of protection gaps and solutions https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:861312/FULLTEXT01.pdf 

The concept of 'climate refugee' Towards a possible definition https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2018/621893/EPRS_BRI(2018)621893_EN.pd


Asmita Gaire

  • Asmita Gaire says :
    Greetings Fernanda
    I hope you are doing well
    Thank you for your report
    Keep writing
    Green cheers
    Asmita Gaire
    Posted 19-09-2020 11:12

Sang Su Mentor

  • Sang Su Mentor says :
    Hi Fernanda pioli macedo, this is a mentor, Sang Su Lee.

    It is indeed sad that because of climate change, there are so many refugees occurring right now. Many people have believed that global warming would not make serious impacts on the earth. Maybe that's the reason why we wasted so much energy and resources. However, the adverse disaster due to global warming is becoming more and more vivid.

    We need to start caring about the environment right at this moment if we want to save the earth.

    Green cheers~!
    Posted 28-08-2020 02:05

Taehyun Mentor

  • Taehyun Mentor says :
    Hello Fernanda pioli macedo this is mentor Taehyun!

    The refugee problem caused by environmental change is really serious. In fact, when I was young, I didn't think that the environmental problem would become this serious and create refugees due to the environment, but I'm really sorry that it's becoming a painful reality. It is generally said that environmental refugees are not accepted in all other countries, but only in part, which requires efforts to financially support countries that accept environmental refugees by holding each other accountable internationally.

    Thank you for the report!

    Green cheers!
    Posted 14-08-2020 17:41

Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Hello Fernanda

    Greetings and Namaste from Nepal
    Wishing you a safe stay
    Thank you for your report on climate refugees. This can be a great problem with the increasing impacts of climate change.

    Keep writing great reports.
    We are eager to read more reports from you.
    Green Cheers :)

    Best wishes,
    Kushal Naharki

    Posted 13-08-2020 21:28

Sreelakshmi S

  • Sreelakshmi S says :
    Good emphasis on the environmental migrants.
    Posted 13-08-2020 15:40


  • ALOK DHAKAL says :
    Thank you macedo for sharing aboutclimate refugees.
    Keep writing!!
    Posted 13-08-2020 15:00

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