Teitiota v The Chief Executive Of Ministry Of Business, Innovation And Employment- A Person Displaced
AbstractSmall Island States are the most exposed and vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, particularly sea level rise. Unfortunately, mitigation measures, building capacity for the vulnerable groups, or even the adoption of adaptation measures may not be a sufficient solution. Instead, resettlement outside their country of origin may in some instances, be the only alternative. With resettlement however comes other issues, not least are the grounds under which they might qualify for another countries protection. In this article, we examine the case of Ioane Teitiota, who in 2013 applied to Immigration New Zealand for refugee status under the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees as a ‘climate change refugee’. His application was refused because he failed to meet the current criteria required to demonstrate refugee status. Teitiota’s case, reflects what appears to be the dominant situation of displaced peoples who apply for refugee status on the ground of the impacts of climate change. Aside from the Convention, it is questionable whether the rights of people affected by climate change are protected under international law. There are a number of solutions mooted for resolution of the issue of climate displacement however as yet, none have gained international agreement.
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