Environmental Justice and the Rights of Ecological Refugees
By Laura Westra
Routledge – 2009
Climate change and other environmental problems are increasingly leading to the displacement of populations from their homelands, whether through drought, flooding, famine or other causes. Worse, there is currently no protection in international law for people made refugees by such means.
Following on from her previous explorations of environmental justice as it relates to future generations and indigenous peoples, Laura Westra now turns her attention to the plight of ecological refugees. In Part I, Westra provides an overview of what defines an ecological refugee and their present legal status. Part II goes into greater depth as to who the vulnerable are and what protection they have in international law. Part III looks to the future, advocating a comprehensive approach to the problem. With extensive examples and analysis, this is a compelling treatment that will be indispensable for legal professionals, government and business leaders, academics and students of the role of law in the protection of the rights of refugees.
'International law relating to refugees and internally displaced persons is in need of a complete overhaul ? The present study, with its thorough survey of refugee problems and the shortcomings of legal instruments, provides an important basis for such a reconsideration of this branch of the law.' John Dugard, UN Special Rapporteur on Diplomatic Protection 'Laura Westra has performed a valuable function in expanding our understanding of law with regard to this grand-scale and largely unprecedented phenomenon.' Norman Myers, Fellow of the James Martin 21st Century School, University of Oxford 'This book is essential reading for every professional working in the fields of environmental law, philosophy and ethics today, as well as every person who is seriously concerned for a just and sustainable future for humanity on planet Earth.' J. Ronald Engel, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Social Ethics, Meadville/Lombard Theological School 'A vibrant plea for a convention on behalf of all environmentally displaced persons - voluntary or forced, national or foreign - recognizing their right to life and dignity, intrinsically tied to their right to an ecologically and humanly viable environment.' Michel Prieur, Emeritus Professor of Law, Vice-President of the Commission on Environmental Rights, IUCN 'Westra supports proposals for an overhaul of the system, principally the creation of a new instrument: a Framework Covention for Global Health and a new international body: a World Agency for Environmentally-Displaced Persons […] this book is surely a significant academic contribution to steps in that direction.' James Corbet Burcher, Environmental Law Foundation
Prologue Part I: Present Refugee Law: Political and Legal Issues and Problems 1: The Question of Environmental Refugees 2: International Assistance and the Refugee Convention's Five Grounds of Persecution 3: State Protection and State Responsibility to Ecological Refugees Part II: Ecological Refugees and Refugee Law: The Interface 4: The Five Grounds Revisited: Who are the Vulnerable? 5: Ecological Refugees: Protection and Rights in International Law Part III: The Way Forward: Existing Legal Instruments and New Provisions 6: International Law Beyond the Convention on the Status of Refugees 7: Towards a Comprehensive Approach to Protecting Refugees and the Internally Displaced
Laura Westra is Professor Emerita (Philosophy) at University of Windsor, PhD in Law at Osgoode Hall Law School and Adjunct Professor of Social Science at York University, Canada. She is the author of 20 books, including Environmental Justice and the Rights of Unborn and Future Generations (Earthscan, 2006) and Environmental Justice and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Earthscan, 2007), and has contributed articles and chapters to over 80 journals and books.