Refugees and climate displacement

The charge

The Climate and Ecological Emergency is a Crime Against Humanity perpetrated by the rich and powerful against the poor and vulnerable.

They have allowed millions to be displaced by climate chaos and natural destruction. Climate refugees are the forgotten victims.

We charge the world’s most powerful governments with mass manslaughter by gross negligence for the impact of the Climate and Ecological Emergency on us, turning us into climate refugees and displacing us from our homes.

The evidence

More and more people around the world are and will be losing their homes and livelihoods due to weather-related hazards and environmental degradation. They are forced to leave everything behind in search of safety and dignity.

Today 1% of the world is a barely livable hot zone. By 2070 19% of the planet is projected to turn into a barely livable hot zone making agriculture impossible and just going outside deadly in parts of Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia and Australia. Already today, recurring droughts and crop failures are leaving people with the choice between flight and death across Africa, often fuelling regional conflicts in places such as Somalia, the Lake Chad basin and the Sahel. More and more Bangladeshis from coastal areas are becoming climate refugees as Bangladesh is losing an area the size of Manhattan each year.

In 2019, weather-related hazards triggered some 24.9 million displacements in 140 countries around the world. Australian think tank IEP predicts that at least 1.2 billion people could be displaced by such climate-related events by 2050. Climate-related displacement is also rising globally and the majority of those forced to leave their homes are women. 

Wealthy nations are also being affected by this. From Wales to Louisiana, people are already being displaced by the climate crisis. 

Climate refugees are the forgotten victims of climate change. Governments who caused the crisis are the same ones who are creating fortress barricades to stop migrants reaching safety. If migrants do reach safety, they face hostile environments and are housed in inhumane detention centres. 

There is an urgent need to clarify the definition of climate refugees – those who leave their countries in the context of climate change or disasters do not qualify for protection under international law.