Monday, October 22, 2012

Books We Like: Climate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law

Dr. Jane McAdam is a professor on the Faculty of Law at the the University of New South Wales.  She is recognized as an international expert in the field of refugee law.  Much of her recent work focuses on issues of refugees and international climate change.  For example, you can see one of her lectures by clicking here.  She has written a new book called "Climate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law," published by Oxford University Press.

The book examines whether States have obligations to protect people displaced by climate change under international law, including international refugee law, international human rights law, and the international law on statelessness.  She examines the nature of displacement, the "importance of context," and the "invisibility" of climate-change related migration.  She considers closely contemporary applications of treaties such as the 1951 Refugee Convention as well as the relevance of regional refugee instruments.  Using field work from Asia and some Pacific islands, she considers a number of issues relating to climate change in relation to other factors traditionally associated with migration.  She examines specific international human rights including the right to life, the right to be free of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and other human rights that "may give rise to complementary protection." She considers problems of "disappearing states" and relocation.  She also examines the "Climate Refugee Treaty Debate" and political obstacles to a new treaty on that subject.

In addition to its well-written analysis and commentary, the book includes great resources such as the list of applicable treaties and other international instruments and the list of applicable national legilsation from such countries as widespread as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, FInaland, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Niue, Ireland, and South Africa.  An interesting appendix lists countries around the world that make reference to migration and relocation as an adaptation strategy in national programs of action.  The 47 countries included there include range from Afghanistan to Zaire.  And the bibliography is a treasure trove for anyone doing research on issues of international law, climate change, and forced migration.

This book is a welcome addition to the legal literature on the future of our planet.  The book is published by Oxford University Press.  The ISBN Number is 978-0-19-958708-7.


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