The Slow onset effects of climate change and human rights protection for cross-border migrants

Human Rights Council
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This study focuses on the links between the slow onset effects of climate change, human rights, and the cross-border movement of people. It explores the risks slow onset events pose to human rights, which can contribute to vulnerability that in turn acts as a driver of human mobility. Such vulnerability to harm will also continue to affect people as they move across borders. It considers the role human rights law can play in approaches to slow onset events and human mobility, including measures to mitigate, ensure the capacity and means to adapt, and provide access to effective remedies. The study also emphasises the preventive role of a human rights-based approach, which can shift the focus to the risks posed by slow onset events and action that can be taken before severe harm occurs.

Because this movement is multi-causal and complex, it has been subject to terminology that categorizes, defines, or characterizes movement and its drivers in a variety of ways. To better ensure conceptual clarity, this section provides a conceptual framework for the study. It then briefly describes international efforts to understand and recognize the relationship between human rights, climate change, and human mobility.

This study was undertaken on behalf of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in collaboration with the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), with sincere thanks to Lauren Nishimura for her valuable contribution to the preparation of this study. In addition, special mention and thanks are due to our United Nations partners and the many experts that contributed to this study and participated in the expert meeting of 5 October 2017 at which it was first discussed.