Environmental Refugees: A Denial of Rights


Journal Article


Hermsmeyer, H.A.


Environmental Refugees: A Denial of Rights




Working Paper No. 2 Contemporary Topics in Forced Migration


Introduction: The world is currently experiencing unprecedented levels of population pressure and poverty which lead to environmental problems. Throughout the world excessive environmental alteration and degradation are forcing populations to migrate because they can no longer satisfy their basic needs or sustain their traditional livelihoods. Despite the fact that there have been cases of environmentally induced displacement in the past, as well as convincing scientific predictions of upcoming environmental disasters that will displace massive populations, there is still no institution that guarantees basic human rights for environmental refugees. Environmental refugees include some of the most vulnerable and destitute people in the world; oftentimes, they cannot rely on their own government for protection or aid because of corruption, lack of economic resources, lack of motivation to intervene, and/or lack of ability to control the roots of the problem. Furthermore, host populations are generally resentful towards those seeking asylum because of the increased population pressure and environmental deterioration they inflict on what is often an already fragile environment. Environmental refugees are thus forced to cope with their dismal situation with little or no international aid because they do not fit exactly into rigid existing mandates.


Hermsmeyer, H. A. (2005). Environmental Refugees: A Denial of Rights. Working Paper No. 2 Contemporary Topics in Forced Migration.