Climate Change is a human rights issue. In 2016, extreme weather, climate conditions displaced approximately 45 people every minute. This issue is in immediate need of action. As a result, civil leaders from more than 100 countries across the world, have urged for an action on the displacement caused due to climate change at a summit in Suva, Fiji. They suggested the international community to defend the human rights of the victims of such displacement.
Climate change should be identified as a major cause for migration in the global compact due to be negotiated by countries in 2018, such as Oxfam Pacific, 350.org and Act Alliance. Certain instances of climate migration are (i) sea level rise in the pacific, making some island communities unviable; (ii) 2 kilometres inland movement of Vunidogoloa in Fiji, in 2014, leading to relocation of 30 villages. There are well framed international rules for giving asylum to victims of political persecution but no provision for people displaced by climate change. It has been seen that initiatives in this regard have been made by New Zealand, due to its longstanding relationship with a number of Pacific islands. It is planning to create world’s first humanitarian visas. These visas shall be employed towards people displaced due to climate changes. There is need for other countries also to enforce such actions. But in reality, only vulnerable countries are eager to discuss the subject during climate negotiations, others often focus on different priorities.
By: Anuja Arora