29 Oct 2012

Plans to create laws to protect victims of climate change displacement

6:25 am on 29 October 2012

There are plans underway to create a legal framework to protect people fleeing natural disasters.

It is something that is seen to be of increasing importance as fears rise about what will happen to the victims of climate change and sea level rise.

The Nansen Initiative, named after the Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen, who in 1921 became its first High Commissioner of Refugees, has been established to develop the framework.

One of those involved, Swiss academic and human rights expert, Professor Walter Kaelin, says these people are not refugees because they are not being persecuted but are displaced by environmental changes.

"And the Nansen Initiative is an initiative that was tagged by a few governments, namely Norway and Switzerland, to address exactly this gap. What should we do about these people who are not protected by international law. Are there good practices? Do we need new law to develop to address them?"