UN Headquarters, New York. Wikipedia
UN Human Rights Committee rules against deportation of ‘climate refugees’
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has ruled that global warming can serve as a reason for asylum seekers to stay. Governments should not deport people who are exposed to "life-threatening risks" due to climate change in their home countries, the committee said.
Courts should take into account when deciding on a person’s asylum status that “the effects of climate change or other natural disasters can provide a basis for protection,” the verdict said.
The judgment is based on the case of Ioane Teitiota from Kiribati, who applied for asylum in 2013 in New Zealand. He stated that his life and that of his family was threatened by the rise in sea level in his home country, a small island nation in the Pacific.
In addition, the cultivation of plants is becoming increasingly difficult and there is a lack of fresh water. The court did not recognize the reasons for deporting Teitiota.
The Human Rights Committee however confirmed that Teitiota had not been exposed to life-threatening circumstances when he applied for asylum. Nevertheless, courts were advised to examine all living conditions individually in the future.
This also includes climate change. The conclusion of the Human Rights Committee is not legally binding, but is a recommendation for all member states.
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