Here are the first two I’ve come across. These will be located in our ‘climate refugee’ category for your future reference. Note that they too mention the contentious international legal issue of whether to help the millions of so-called “climate refugees” that they believe will need to be taken care of by the West by amending the 1951 UN convention on refugees or by creating a whole new legal structure.
This second blog tipped me off to a possible strategy to bring “climate refugees” to the US in an existing program, TemporaryProtected Status. How much do you want to bet that there is nothing temporary about this, once in the US with jobs and homes, who is going to throw them out? Note the Liberians are still here!
A larger problem arises when climate refugees become refugees in the truer sense of the word, when they cross international borders. Important protection measures already exist within the 1951 Refugee Convention, specifically Article 33(1), which prohibits the refoulement of asylum seekers to “the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened” (p. 11). But, again, UNHCR shies from expanding the traditional definition of refugee and leaves the designation up to each receiving state. They offer various examples, including the U.S. Temporary Protected Status mechanism — which was enacted in 1990, but put into use in 1998 after Hurricane Mitch. This mechanism allows nationals of foreign states temporary refugee status so that they can stay within the U.S. if they meet three key criteria: 1) there has been an environmental disaster in the foreign state resulting in a substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions; 2) the foreign state is unable to handle adequately the return of its own nationals; and 3) the foreign state has officially requested such a designation.
I can see countries like Bangladesh, Yemen, Somalia and others asking (#3) in a heart beat! Can’t you?
* As I find more blogs on “climate refugees” I’ll post them here. Or, readers, if you see some, send the links my way! Thanks!