Groningen Journal of International Law

International Law Under Construction


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Addressing the Protection Gap of Environmental Refugees: A Reform of the 1951 Refugee Convention?

By Jenny Poon, University of Western Ontariojpoonlaw@gmail.com

I. Introduction

A protection gap currently exists under international refugee law in that the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention), the international convention which recognises and offers protection for refugees, does not recognise those fleeing from the effects of climate change as refugees. The protection regime under the Refugee Convention is therefore not applicable to those fleeing from the impacts of climate change, resulting in those fleeing across international borders being denied access to the territory of the State where they are fleeing to. This blog post briefly examines why this protection gap must be addressed, including how international refugee law and the Refugee Convention may be reformed to protect these environmental refugees. Continue reading