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Climate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law$
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Jane McAdam

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587087

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587087.001.0001

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‘Disappearing States’, Statelessness, and Relocation

‘Disappearing States’, Statelessness, and Relocation

(p.119) 5 ‘Disappearing States’, Statelessness, and Relocation
Climate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law

Jane Mcadam

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a measured response to some of the ill-informed notions circulating in the literature by: examining empirical evidence about projected climate change impacts on Kiribati and Tuvalu, in conjunction with preexisting environmental and socio-economic stressors; analysing the position in international law with respect to State continuity and extinction; demonstrating why people who may move from affected small island States would be unlikely to be regarded as ‘stateless persons’ as a matter of international law, and where the protection gaps arise; examining why proposals for en masse relocation of national groups to other States is problematic from the perspective of human rights law; and examining alternative constructs for the maintenance of nationhood, such as self-governance in free association with another State, as a means of preserving culture, identity, and community. The chapter posits that considering these issues now, while there is time to enhance mechanisms for planned, pre-emptive movement, could provide greater certainty and predictability for the future and prevent displacement.

Keywords:   climate change impact, Kiribati, Tuvalu, international law, stateless persons, en mass relocation, human rights law, self-governance

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