Baking desert, cold reception? Climate change driven migration and international legal protection: the case study of the Sahel Region
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Universidad de Granada
DirectorFernández Avilés, José Antonio
DepartamentoUniversidad de Granada. Programa de Doctorado en Estudios Migratorios
Derecho del Trabajo y de la Seguridad Social
Fisseha, Mehari. Baking desert, cold reception? Climate change driven migration and international legal protection: the case study of the Sahel Region. Granada: Universidad de Granada, 2019. [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/56577]
SponsorshipTesis Univ. Granada.
The argument behind the thesis is that international measures taken to deal with irregular migration since the end of the Second World War have been generally considered as refugees only those who flee from persecution are the only ones who should be given sanctuary and the right to seek asylum. In fact, a closer examination demonstrates that there is a wide disconnection between the measures pursued and the resultant consequences which come as a result of climate change. This hiatus stems from the fact that the issue of refugees is crafted, understood and applied in a setting where the existing legal framework only offers protection and the right to seek asylum to those fleeing from political persecution. For this reason, the study aims to contribute to the conceptual understanding and application of refugee law within the larger goal of proposing a climate change refugee law under a legal framework in which those forced to migrate to new countries by climate change are given the opportunity to seek asylum much the same as those who flee their countries as a result of political persecution. The thesis inquiries into the diverse meanings attributed to a refugee in a bid to understand the concept in a milieu of climate change driven migration using the Sahel Region as a case study. How does the theoretical underpinning of the concept of climate change refugees correlate with the legal and institutional measures taken by the international community notably regional bodies such as the European Union in dealing with refugees coming into their regions in search of sanctuary? By taking this question into consideration, the study aims to address a range of issues such as what kind of state institutions are envisaged for the current refugee law reforms. It also aims to address the historical and theoretical imperatives which orient and drive the refugee law reform process in climate change situations. A question of fundamental importance is whether revisiting the refugee rights law to include ‘climate change refugees’ requires nothing less than the transformation of social norms pertaining migration particularly illegal migration by those fleeing their countries for whatever reasons. It also has something to do with whether international actors can succeed in ushering in a reconstructed, effective refugee law regime which recognises ‘climate change refugees. The research is also envisaged as a contribution to the debate on how to make the views of climate change refugees themselves heard in the needed reconfiguration of the current refugee law regimen. It is hoped that if practitioners and policy makers consider the findings of this study, their contribution the reforms will not only achieve their objectives of reforms but also significantly improve the human rights of the people in whose name these reforms are pursued.