At Water's Edge: Why Bangladesh Needs a Legal Definition of "Climate Refugee"
A predicted 10 million or more Bangladeshi residents will be climate refugees by 2050. Extreme flooding, food insecurity, and the increasing frequency of severe weather events are causing mass domestic and international movement of Bangladeshi citizens. These people are especially at risk because over half of their landmass lays at less than 10 meters above sea level. Uncertainty surrounds the definition of a "climate refugee", and the United Nations does not include rights for climate refugees in their international policies. This prevents those afflicted by damaging climatic events and changes from seeking asylum. The legal protections and rights received by refugees of war or persecution are not extended to people displaced by environmental stresses. A legal definition of a "climate refugee" and what climatic factors cause people to migrate must be formulated in order to protect those affected by climate change. To accomplish this goal, we will analyze what drives climate-related movement in threatened areas. Developing a clear definition of what conditions justify the need for this climate migration will lead to better legal protection and social acceptance for climate refugees worldwide.
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Freitag, Grace; Hautzinger, Emily; Jarskey, Skye; and Sternberg, Caitlin, "At Water's Edge: Why Bangladesh Needs a Legal Definition of "Climate Refugee"" (2020). Celebration of Student Scholarship. 4.