Monday, January 20, 2020

UN's Human Rights Committee: Climate Refugees May Have Relief from Forced Return


Phot courtesy of the New York Post

A number of commentators have written about the need for international refugee law to respond to migration due to climate change.  CNN reports refugees fleeing the effects of the climate crisis cannot be forced to return home, a United Nations panel has ruled.

The United Nation's Human Rights Committee addressed the case of Ioane Teitiota, who applied for protection from New Zealand after claiming his life was at risk in his home country of Kiribati. The Pacific island is at risk of becoming the first country to disappear under rising sea levels.


Map courtesy of World Atlas

The committee ruled against Teitiota on the basis that his life was not at imminent risk.  It also outlined that countries could violate people's international rights if they force them back to countries where climate change poses an immediate threat.  "Without robust national and international efforts, the effects of climate change in receiving states may expose individuals to a violation of their rights," its ruling said.


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