The Protection of Environmentally-Displaced Persons in International Law (A. Lopez)


Aurelie Lopez


Environmental change, human migrations, environmental disasters, environmental refugees, environmentally-displaced persons, international protection, proposed international regime


This Article focuses on the extent to which international law and practice provide the environmentally displaced with physical protection from serious human rights violations. Accordingly, it endeavours to better understand the phenomenon of environmentally-induced migration in order to foster constructive discussion on the issue. First, the Article illustrates the correlation between environmental degradation and migration, providing examples of environmentally-induced population movements. The Article further highlights the importance of the issue, reasserting scientists’ concerns over an aggravation of the problem in the near future. This is followed by a discussion of the legal means of protection available in international law. Finally, discussing the maelstrom stemming from the notion of “environmental refugees,” this Article analyzes various propositions advanced by legal scholars to foster protection for those environmentally displaced who do not fit neatly within the refugee definition, but deserve international protection nonetheless.


(2007) 37 Environmental Law 365


The Protection of Environmentally-Displaced Persons in International Law