Tag Archives: refugees

The Human Rights System as a Conceptual Framework for Environmental Law (R. S. Pathak)

Author(s)

R.S. Pathak

Keywords

Environmental Rights, Natural Order, Future Generations, Common Concern of Mankind, Indigenous People, Anthropocentrism, Environmental Philosophy, Refugees, International Law, Enforcement Procedures

Excerpt

The fundamental significance of environmental protection in shaping the quality of life of a people was reflected, from the commencement of the second half of this century, in the enacted constitutional law of a large number of countries, which include both developed and developing nations. There is a growing volume of environmental legislation and an increasing number of environmental protection agencies.
And as the gap closes between the developed and the developing countries in regard to the significance of the environmental philosophy, an enlarging consensus has become possible in the adoption of global policies and programmes providing for environmental protection.
Environmental law is concerned with our natural heritage and our cultural heritage. The natural heritage includes the atmosphere, the oceans, plant and animal life, water, soils, and other natural resources, both renewable and exhaustible. Our cultural heritage includes the intellectual, artistic, social, and historical record of mankind. Natural heritage is linked with cultural heritage, the survival, protection, and progress of both being interdependent. Man is the bridge between the two. Cultural heritage is the product and record of human perceptions of the natural order through visual, ethical, or mystical perspectives. It issues from man’s vision of his natural heritage. In turn, the protection and preservation of man’s natural heritage depends on human attitudes emanating from cultural, ethical, and religious beliefs.

Citation

(1992) in Environmental Change and International Law: New Challenges and Dimensions, Edith Brown Weiss ed., Chapter 8 (United Nations University Press: Tokyo)

Paper

The Human Rights System as a Conceptual Framework for Environmental Law

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Confronting a Rising Tide: A Proposal for A Convention on Climate Change Refugees (B. Docherty and T. Giannini)

Author(s)

Bonnie Docherty and Tyler Giannini

Keywords

law, climate change, refugees, national borders, international law, climate change prevention, remediation, human rights protection, humanitarian aid

Abstract

This Article proposes a new legal instrument to confront the issue of climate change refugees. It defines climate change refugees as people whom climate change forces to relocate across national borders. The existing international legal framework — including its laws and its institutions — does not adequately address the emerging crisis. The proposed instrument should create obligations to deal with both prevention and remediation of the climate change refugee problem. First, the instrument should establish guarantees of human rights protections and humanitarian aid for a specific class of people. Second, it should spread the burden of fulfilling those guarantees across the home state, host state, and international community. Finally, it should form institutions to implement the provisions, including a global fund, a coordinating agency, and a body of scientific experts. The comprehensive instrument, drawing on a range of legal precedent and academic literature, would provide a solution that is legally sound, meets humanitarian needs, and is tailored to the specific circumstances of climate change refugees.

Citation

(2009) 33 Harvard Environmental Law Review 349.

Paper

Confronting A Rising Tide: A Proposal for A Convention on Climate Change Refugees

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Swimming against the tide: why a climate change displacement treaty is not the answer (J. McAdam)

Author

Jane McAdam

Keywords

Climate change, Refugees, Treaties

Abstract

Argues, with reference to field work from Bangladesh, Kiribati and Tuvalu, that the campaign to produce an international instrument to protect those displaced by climate change is misplaced.

Citation

(2011) 23(1) International Journal of Refugee Law 2-27

Paper

Swimming against the tide: why a climate change displacement treaty is not the answer

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Climate Change Displacement to Refuge (E. Burleson)

Author

Elizabeth Burleson

Keywords

Migration, climate change law, human rights, refugees

Abstract

Migration is one of the oldest coping strategies for dealing with environmental change. International climate negotiations have focused on such complex issues as mitigation, adaptation, environmentally sound technology transfer, and financial mechanisms. Calling for the humanitarian impacts of climatechange to be addressed, eighteen aid organizations have formed the Inter-Agency Standing Committee to advocate for the coordination of human rights and climatechange law and policy. The Norwegian Refugee Council notes that “[m]ore than 20 million people have been displaced by climate-related sudden-onset natural disasters in 2008 alone.”Member states to the U.N. Convention on ClimateChange (UNFCCC) have committed to draft an agreement to address post-Kyoto Protocol commitments under the UNFCCC and an array of climate-related concerns. Beyond mitigation, adaptation, technology, and funding, other crosscutting climate issues continue to challenge the international community. The demographics, economies, and geographic features of given countries impact their priorities in the ongoing negotiations. Irrespective of the likely impacts of climatechange, everyone has a vested interest in maintaining international peace and security. Migration is a factor that the U.N. Security Council regularly uses to determine whether a situation constitutes a threat to international peace and security. Regardless of the means by which agreement is reached, adaptation to climate change should be implemented as soon as possible.
This Essay analyzes the interaction between international human rights law and climate change law. Part II discusses climate-induced migration, human rights law, and refugee status. Part III considers the role of the Security Council in climate-induced insecurity. Part IV concludes that maintaining international peace and security requires timely codification of climate measures that address ecomigration.

Citation

(2010) 25 Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation 19

Paper

Climate Change Displacement to Refuge

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Environmental Migration Governance (J. McAdam)

Author

Jane McAdam (University of New South Wales)

Keywords

Environmental law, international law, environmental migration, climate change, refugees, United Nations

Abstract

Environmental migration governance, like global migration governance more broadly, suffers from significant fragmentation both vertically – with actors at the international, regional and local levels – and horizontally – with the phenomenon addressed in part or, more rarely, as a whole under the auspices of a range of other ‘policy categories’ and associated institutions. Interests in environmentally-driven population movement can be identified across the fields of migration, environment, development, human rights, disaster management and humanitarian relief. Yet despite (or because of) the plethora of existing as well as potential governance mechanisms, processes and institutions, there is presently no coherent multilateral governance framework for environmental migration.

The fact that the same is true of global migration generally provides the context for the present chapter’s examination of environmental migration governance. The particular features and challenges that it raises must ultimately inform the broader question of whether, and how, a unified global governance system for migration could and should be developed, and whether, and how, the regulation of environmental migration might fit into such a vision.

Environmental migration is not a new phenomenon. Natural and human-induced environmental disasters have displaced people in the past and continue to do so. Nevertheless, the environmental events and processes accompanying global climate change threaten to dramatically increase human movement both within and across State borders. As far as actual numbers are concerned, there is no doubt that ‘current predictions are fraught with numerous methodological problems and caveats’. Yet most estimates suggest that between 200 and 250 million people will be displaced by environmental causes before 2050. The environmental impacts of climate change have been signalled as the key driver of this anticipated surge in migration.

Evidently migration on this unprecedented scale demands a multilateral institutional response. Yet, environmental migration governance represents a significant challenge, not least because the content and parameters of the concept continue to be debated. There is at present no internationally agreed definition of what it means to be an environmental ‘migrant’, ‘refugee’ or ‘displaced person’, and, consequently, no agreed label for those affected. Questions of definition have clear governance implications, informing the appropriate location of environmental migration both procedurally – as an international, regional or local, developed and/or developing country concern/responsibility – and thematically – for example, within the existing refugee protection framework or under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The viability and value of institutionalizing international cooperation and collaboration on international migration matters generally, and environmental migration particularly, depends upon how that phenomenon can and should be formulated as a discrete concept in law and policy. Such normative conclusions must be grounded in a thorough examination and assessment of the existing institutions and political processes that impact upon environmental migration and States’ responses to them.

Citation

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2009-1 / Alexander Betts (ed), Global Migration Governance, University of Oxford (Forthcoming)

Paper

Environmental Migration Governance.

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