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Part V The Scope of Refugee Protection, Ch.46 Displacement in the Context of Climate Change and Disasters

Jane McAdam

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law

Edited By: Cathryn Costello, Michelle Foster, Jane McAdam

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 04 March 2024

Subject(s):
Right to life — Asylum — Internally displaced persons — Non-refoulement — Climate change

The links between climate change, disasters, and displacement are now undisputed. Yet, extant legal frameworks do not expressly address the movement of people across borders in response to or in anticipation of disasters or climate change-related harms. This chapter examines the limits and scope of existing international legal frameworks (refugee law, human rights law, and the law on statelessness) to address displacement in the context of disasters and climate change. It also briefly considers measures that would enable people to remain in their homes, where possible and desirable, or to migrate or relocate elsewhere, as an adaptation strategy in anticipation of potential future harm. While climate change will affect migration, it will not be the sole cause. Rather, climate change will interact with a range of economic, social, and political drivers, which themselves affect migration. For this reason, the chapter argues that it is conceptually sounder to view climate change-related movement as a part of global migration dynamics, rather than as a discrete, independent category.

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