Climate Change Displacement in Atoll Island States


Book section


Yamamoto, Lilian
Esteban, Miguel


Climate Change Displacement in Atoll Island States




Yamamoto, Lilian
Esteban, Miguel

Book Title

Atoll Island States and International Law


Springer Berlin Heidelberg


The major challenge facing the inhabitants of Atoll Island States is that there is no legal instrument that encompasses displacement caused by sea level rise. Discussions on the possibilities for protection are based on an extended application of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, complementary protection or a creation of a Convention which would protect environmental or climate-change displaced people. The major difficulty for creating a Convention for climate-change displaced people is that displacement might not be exclusively caused by climate change. Socio- economic factors are also involved in the complex matrix of reasons why people relocate to foreign lands, and this fact can be a challenge for the creation of a Convention to protect climate-change displaced people. The chapter will discuss these and other challenges by applying a metaphor which explains the roles of developing and developed countries in the human rights field. Alternative solutions to a Convention, such as bilateral agreements and soft law, will be also analyzed, showing how they hold much more promise and are likely to be easier to be implemented. In addition, the regime of statelessness will be examined, together with whether climate change can constitute a violation of human rights.


Yamamoto, L. & Esteban, M. (2014). Climate Change Displacement in Atoll Island States. In L. Yamamoto & M. Esteban (Eds.), Atoll Island States and International Law. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

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