UI Talks to GSR About Refugees

In January, UI Executive Assistant Teresa Blumenstein was tapped by National Catholic Reporter’s Global Sisters Report for an interview on the policy and demographic outlook for refugees and migrants in 2017. The resulting article was produced in recognition of National Migration Week in the USA, which occurred from 8-14 January. In addition to speaking about the upcoming negotiations of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, Teresa was glad for the opportunity to shine some light on an intersection of two of UNANIMA’s areas of concern: climate change and human displacement. Despite the fact that the population being displaced by climate change on an annual basis is more than double that fleeing armed conflict, the former group receives significantly less press. Climate-displaced persons are also particularly vulnerable to falling through the cracks of international policy as they do not fit the legal definition of a refugee and are therefore not entitled to any of the protections enshrined in the UN’s 1951 Refugee Convention. Because most climate-displaced people do not cross international borders, they are not protected by any existing or forthcoming conventions on migrants and are not considered to be the responsibility of the international community. This policy gap is particularly incensing given the international community’s awareness of their shared culpability for climate change, the driving force behind this group’s displacement. For these reasons, Teresa is currently representing UNANIMA on a committee of NGOs focused on promoting the rights of and protections for those displaced by climate change and disaster. Find the full GSR article here. For more information on the work of the committee on climate-induced displacement, see their page on the NGO Committee on Migration website.