Climate Refugees: South Asian States’ Legal Protection Practices
The grimmest sordid state of affairs of being a refugee in the contemporary world has attained a new terrain of crisis depicted by the emergence of ‘climate refugees’ produced by climate change. People do not move on a whim or megrim rather sociopolitical, economic and environmental factors compel them to migrate from their homelands. Almost seventy years ago, European Jews were deprived of asylum and hounded by the Nazis. Similarly, the climate change and ‘climate refugees’ are making news daily due to the calamities and catastrophes surrounding them with unprecedented visibility. South Asia is one of the regions where states do not afford effective legal protection to refugees or climate refugees. However, the international protection to political refugees was institutionalized in the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (UNCSR) with its 1967 Additional Protocol and its lodger the UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR). In South Asia, no country has acceded to UNCSR except Afghanistan, and there are no national refugee laws and no legal guarantees. Refugees, as well as ‘climate refugees’, have been enduring insecurity and condemnation in the SAARC region. The present chapter tries to examine the South Asian state practices to deal with the climate refugees. Unfortunately, climate refugees are completely deprived of any legal protection due to the gaps in the national laws in South Asia. The chapter further evaluates the reception of international climate change law in South Asia that is flagrantly ineffective, and climate change migration governance in South Asia that fallibly revolves around national security narratives.