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23 Jan 2020, 13:29
Freja Eriksen

Govt says climate refugees cannot claim asylum in Germany despite UN ruling

Clean Energy Wire / Deutsche Welle

The German government has expressed disagreement with a ruling by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which states that countries may not deport individuals who face "climate change-induced conditions that violate the right to life", writes the Deutsche Welle. A spokesperson from the interior ministry said that although there was a link between climate change, migration and flight, this link had so far been insufficiently investigated. "Most studies suggest that environmental changes are triggers for migration decisions, but are not the sole cause," added the spokesperson. The UN ruling was based on the case of a citizen of Kiribati, who was deported from New Zealand after seeking asylum. The committee determined that New Zealand's courts did not violate his right to life at the time but stated that "the ruling sets forth new standards that could facilitate the success of future climate change-related asylum claims.”

The worsening impacts of climate change could see more and more people move within the borders of their countries or abroad. In Germany, an Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) has proposed four possible initiatives for fair climate policy, including providing support for regions in transition and those most affected by climate change, and creating humane and dignified migration options for people forced to leave their countries due to climate change. Two interior ministers of the federal states of Hessen and Bavaria last year said that Germany should not take in climate refugees, following demands from Sea-Watch captain Carola Rackete.

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