Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Australia urged to formally recognise climate change refugee status

Bernard Lagan in the Guardian (UK) via the Global Mail: Australia, a close neighbour of small, low-lying South Pacific states at the frontline of climate change, should be the first country to formally recognise climate change refugees, the country's main refugee advisory body has said.

The Refugee Council of Australia has told the Australian government that it should create a new refugee category for those fleeing the effects of climate change so that they can be offered protection similar to those escaping war or persecution.

The key legal document that defines refugees, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, defines a refugee as a person who has a well-founded fear of persecution in their homeland because of their race, religion, nationality of membership of a particular group.

...[T]he president of the partly public-funded Refugee Council of Australia, Phil Glendenning, who was in Kiribati in March, says Australia needs to formally recognise climate change refugees because there's "a big chance" that climate change in the Pacific would force large numbers of people from their homelands....

Washington Island, Kiribati, shot by NASA

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