The Sydney Morning Herald: The UN Refugee Convention Should Not Include “Climate Refugees”

The UN Refugee Convention, drafted after World War II, strives to balance the needs of refugees and governments, but cannot help every displaced person. The world has seen great advances in communications, transportation and security, but a substantially larger global population, increasing inequality, terrorism and environmental degradation are challenges that leave critics claiming the treaty is both too narrow and broad. Victims of climate change should not be considered refugees, argues Jane McAdam, a professor of law and director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. The reasons: Most climate-change displacement will be gradual and within countries; other problems like poverty, conflict and poor governance are often linked with displacement due to climate change; and relocation could deter more appropriate solutions. Reopening the convention at a time when large numbers in the wealthiest countries vehemently oppose immigration could weaken the treaty. McAdam concludes, “Right now, governments could do so much to avoid the risk of future displacement, such as implementing disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation measures; enhancing voluntary migration opportunities; developing humanitarian visas; and potentially even undertaking planned relocations, in full consultation with affected communities.” – YaleGlobal

The Sydney Morning Herald: The UN Refugee Convention Should Not Include “Climate Refugees”

UN Convention on Refugees is dated, but law professor urges against including climate victims among refugees adding that other solutions are available
Jane McAdam
Thursday, June 15, 2017

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Jane McAdam is scientia​ professor of law and director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW. This is an extract from her arguments during a debate hosted by The Ethics Centre at the Sydney Town Hall.

Copyright © 2017

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