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MRG calls for strong safeguards in addressing climate-induced displacement

27 June 2023

This statement was delivered at the Human Rights Council – 53rd Session by Mays Al-Juboori, Senior Middle East Officer at Minority Rights Group International, at the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Climate Change on 27 June 2023.

Special Rapporteur,

Minority Rights Group wishes to commend you on your timely report concerning the legal and policy gaps affecting persons displaced across borders due to climate change, highlighting that the challenges are most serious for communities and countries that have contributed least to the climate emergency.

MRG has just launched its flagship Minority and Indigenous Trends report, this year focusing on the world’s water crisis, which is clearly linked to climate change. Minorities and indigenous peoples are being driven from their homes by rising sea levels, drought and floods. Many are forced across international borders.

Sadly, the anthropogenic causes of climate change are compounded by poor governance. Minorities and indigenous peoples are also being displaced by agri-industry and large-scale water infrastructure projects. Pressure is added by pollution from extractives as well as privatization of water sources.

By collecting over 30 case studies, we show how the issues you raise in your report are compounded by racism, discrimination and exclusion – with for instance relief efforts for those displaced by drought and floods excluding minorities and indigenous peoples. Minority and indigenous women and girls and persons with disabilities face intersectional harms at the moment of displacement, while in transit and wherever they seek safety.

In any efforts to address the present normative gap for persons displaced across borders by climate change, we urge that strong safeguards are introduced to protect displaced people from racism and discrimination that could cause them to be left out of protection initiatives.

I thank you.

Watch the statement

Photo: Screenshot from the advocacy statement video.