'Status' of climate refugees– Need for a revised legal framework

Hussain, Asma (2019) 'Status' of climate refugees– Need for a revised legal framework. [Working papers (or Preprints)] (Unpublished)

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Climate change is not just an environmental disaster in waiting, but it affects the entire being of humanity with a host of socio-economic consequences. To further complicate this, the impact of climate change is never uniform, but it has a differential impact, where the most pregnable and penurious communities are most severely impacted. The displacement that results from climate change has proven to be critical in the contemporary world, and has impacted the geo-political and socio-cultural trajectory of various nations. Despite the fact that the case of climate refugees has been a part of public discourse since 1985, it has not received the adequate recognition and acknowledgment that a phenomenon of such gravity deserves.

A large number of people who fail to find asylum in their own respective countries are compelled to seek refuge abroad. The national and international response has been meagre so far, and protection inadequate. To add to that, neither does there exist a comprehensive definition for this category of people, nor are recognized under the 1951 Refugee Convention. There lies a need for a revised legal instrument under which guarantee of human rights protections and humanitarian aid should be enshrined, where there is an equitable distribution of the burden to meet those obligation across the home state, host state, and international community. Further, the establishment adequate institutions to implement the provisions, including a global fund, an expert panel of scientists, and a body for checks and balances, cannot be over-emphasized

The first part of this paper seeks to lay down a normative idea of what the term ‘climate refugees’ encompasses. The paper then goes on to establish a link between the steady rise in climate change and the refugee problem. The next section of the paper tries to analyze as to why this section of people are not covered under the UN Refugee Convention, and why there appears to be a reluctance in defining the term “Climate Refugees”. The next part of the paper makes an attempt to identify the intricate gaps that exist in the legal framework, analyses the existing legal protection under international law. It then goes on to emphasize that refugee status, and with it the right to ‘non-refoulment and a durable solution’ , is owed to those who were compelled to migrate due to natural disruptions which may last for indefinite duration. The last part of the paper tries to gauge whether the issue of climate displacement could be dealt with under the existing international refugee law. The paper then attempts to suggest a way forward to limit the hardships faced by this section of people.

Item Type: Working papers (or Preprints)
Keywords: Climate Refugees | International Human Rights
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Law and Legal Studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Mr Sombir Dahiya
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2022 09:33
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2022 09:35
Official URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3836551
URI: https://pure.jgu.edu.in/id/eprint/2506


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