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A legal status for "climate refugees"

Doc. 14955: compendium of written amendments | Doc. 14955 | 03/10/2019 | Final version

Caption: AdoptedRejectedWithdrawnNo electronic votes

ADraft Resolution

1The Parliamentary Assembly, recalling its Resolution 1655 (2009) and Recommendation 1862 (2009) on Environmentally induced migration and displacement: a 21st century challenge, and the Committee of Ministers reply (Doc. 11999), notes that environmental factors, including climate change, continue to have a dramatic impact on those at risk of being deprived of essential livelihoods, because of natural or man-made environmental disasters which force people to migrate.
2The Assembly welcomes the timely statement made by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights on World Environment Day (5 June 2019) entitled “Living in a clean environment: a neglected human rights concern for all of us”, which makes reference to the 16 Framework Principles of Human Rights and the Environment issued by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment in 2018, which states that “Natural disasters and other types of environmental harm often cause internal displacement and transboundary migration, which can exacerbate vulnerabilities and lead to additional human rights violations and abuses.” (Principle 14h).
3The Assembly considers that the absence of a legally binding definition of “climate refugees” does not preclude the possibility of developing specific policies to protect people who are forced to move as a consequence of climate change. Human mobility and displacement due to climate degradation require a better response. Council of Europe member States should therefore take a more proactive approach to the protection of victims of natural and man-made disasters and improve disaster preparedness mechanisms, both in Europe and in other regions.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3, replace the first sentence with the following sentences: "The Assembly considers that the absence of a legally binding definition of 'Climate refugees' is a legal and structural problem. There must be a clear distinction between problems caused by overpopulation and by purely environmental changes."

Explanatory note

Culturally determined overpopulation is a self-caused phenomena and therefore, not an expectable environmental problem. The social responsibility cannot be denied and neglected. The commission must make feasible proposals to avoid the foreseeable problems of overpopulation, e.g. in Africa.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3, replace the words "people who are forced to move as a consequence of climate change" with the following words: "people who are forced to move as a consequence of externally induced environmental changes"

Explanatory note

People who cut down woods, burn forests and pollute rivers cause climate or environmental changes. They are not victims of these consequences, but offenders. Victims and offenders. The social responsibility of the social community must not be neglected.

4In the light of the above, member States should recognise human migration as a tool for livelihood resilience and a legitimate form of climate change adaptation, and therefore review their management of migration taking this factor into account. Migration being inevitable in certain cases, States need to take a proactive stance to better identify and anticipate the impact on population movements that may be provoked by climate change.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4, after the words "climate change adaptation", insert the following words: "as long as the particular migrants obtain the approval of their country of destination, do not cause a significant burden to the host country and do not compromise the living conditions and culture of those already living in the area".

Explanatory note

The welfare systems of almost all host-countries must deal with massive non-calculable costs caused by immigrants. These social systems are mostly on the edge of collapse. Despite the estimated education status, the professional skills of migrants are mostly of no use to the host country.

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 4, insert the following words: "making a clear distinction between real climate change and a self-induced overpopulation causing socio-cultural immigration in foreign social systems. Those self-caused problems can and must only be solved by the inhabitants of the specific country and area of origin."

Explanatory note

The concept of climate change is abused for the purpose of outsourcing homemade overpopulation problems. However, the outsourcing of the socio-culturally determined overpopulation problem only relocates the same problem to host countries. If the host country behaviour does not change, their welfare securing systems and socio-cultural communities will soon collapse.

5The Assembly therefore calls for specific action to be taken at local, national and international levels, as follows:
5.1To increase local communities’ thresholds of resilience:
5.1.1local communities’ thresholds of resilience must be increased in accordance with Goal 11 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More specifically, by 2030, the number of victims must be significantly reduced and the direct economic losses related to global gross domestic product caused by disasters substantially decreased, including in the case of water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations;
5.1.2by 2020, the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change must be substantially increased to improve resilience to disasters, and “holistic disaster risk management at all levels” developed, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030;
5.1.3measures must be taken to improve disaster preparedness at local level, targeting vulnerable populations such as children and people with disabilities, who should be actively involved in the planning, shaping and implementation phases of disaster management. Those responsible for disaster management (such as specialised experts in this area) need to be appropriately trained and educated.
5.2To improve the capacity to react and cope with disasters at national level:
5.2.1disaster preparedness strategies should include measures to protect people affected by climate change-induced disasters that force displacement. Human mobility must be mainstreamed at all levels. Specific action plans to implement the Sendai Framework of Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development should be set up as a matter of priority, and the recommendations put forward by the UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) on 13-17 May 2019 should be implemented, with a specific emphasis on the protection of vulnerable groups (migrants, asylum-seekers, refugees, people with disabilities, children);
5.2.2disaster risk reduction should be integrated into sustainable development policies and planning in accordance with internationally agreed action plans, such as the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015;
5.2.3institutions, mechanisms and capacities to build resilience to hazards and to incorporate risk reduction approaches into the implementation of emergency preparedness, response and recovery programmes should be reinforced, including by making disaster risk reduction a priority, improving risk information and early warning, building a culture of safety and resilience, reducing the risks in key sectors, and strengthening preparedness for an efficient response;
5.2.4the thresholds and the triggers of displacement should be the object of further research, while acknowledging the multiple causes of displacement which mean that climate change and conflict/violence interact.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 5.2.4, replace the words "while acknowledging the multiple causes of displacement which mean that climate change and conflict/violence interact." with the following words: "which means that overpopulation can cause environmental and climate change and, therefore, also conflict/violence as a consequence."

Explanatory note

It is essential to be open-minded while starting specific and local research about the reasons for displacement to strengthen the affected society and to avoid disaster. It is counterproductive to limit the research according to ideological or political restrictions. Furthermore, in much more densely populated Europe, it is impossible to host all of Africa.

5.3To enhance co-ordination, mediation and funding:
5.3.1developments in international human rights law should be taken into account, with a view to strengthening overall protection of human mobility following environment-related disasters or climate changes. In particular, implementation of mechanisms such as the 2009 African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention) should be promoted through European development co-operation programmes;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 5.3.1, delete the second sentence.

Explanatory note

e.g. in 2018 250 people were displaced by the Ugandan military, because of settling in a nature reserve. Displacing them was in accordance with the nature reserve policy, but not in accordance with the Kampala Convention, which does not distinguish between displacement caused by overpopulation or merely by conflict.

5.3.2the obligation to protect internally displaced persons (IDPs) for environmental reasons must be considered as the first level of legal protection in the legislation of each member State. The reception of natural disaster victims in the territory of member States should be foreseen in domestic law, inter alia by the grant of temporary residence status;

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 5.3.2.

Explanatory note

All immigration claims are subject to feasibility. It is central sovereign decision of the people, living in a country, being respected as a cultural community with the right to exist, to vote for their future themselves, whether they dare the risk of more alien migrants, more socio-economic problems or not.

5.3.3consideration should be given to the establishment of an international solidarity fund to provide protection to people forced to migrate due to climate disasters. Co-operation with the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) could be considered, in accordance with the Declaration of European Principles for the Environment signed by the CEB on 30 May 2006 together with the European Commission and several other international financial organisations (EIB, EBRD, NEFCO, NIB) in a joint effort to implement the fundamental right of present and future generations to live in a healthy environment;

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 5.3.3.

Explanatory note

The CEB has 41 target countries. All of them are European countries. The goal of the CEB is to benefit Europeans. It is a problem of corruption, read the regular reports of the European Court of auditors. It is the concern and the duty of the migrant countries themselves to keep their environment clean.

5.3.4disaster preparedness and risk reduction strategies should be implemented, thereby strengthening resilience and capacity to adapt to climate-related hazards and natural disasters, climate change measures should be integrated into national policies and planning, and progress monitored regularly;

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 5.3.4.

Explanatory note

It is the duty of every country to have plans to combat and prevent climate-related hazards. It is impossible to regulate these concerns centrally through the Council of Europe. In every catastrophe of the last years, the international community has been able to help within seven or less days.

5.3.5education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning should be developed, with focus on women, youth and local and marginalised communities;

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 5.3.5.

Explanatory note

It is the duty of every country to have plans to combat and prevent climate-related hazards. It is impossible to regulate these concerns centrally through the Council of Europe. In every catastrophe of the last years, the international community has been able to help within seven days or less.

5.3.6the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilising jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 should be fulfilled and the Green Climate Fund fully operationalised;

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 5.3.6.

Explanatory note

The money we spend is the money of hard-working people, who do not get enough money to live in dignity when they are old. Collecting 100 billion dollars by 2020 and spending this money without placing it in an evaluated specified project is not responsible.

5.3.7comprehensive cross-disciplinary research and co-operation between environmental, migration, climate-research and demographic centres should be carried out to produce reliable forecast data on environmentally induced migration.

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 5.3.7.

Explanatory note

Through the forecasting of environmentally induced migration, we would indirectly accept that we are responsible for people who have destroyed their own environment.

03 October 2019

Tabled by Mr Bob De BRABANDERE, Mr Tom van GRIEKEN, Mr Martin HEBNER, Ms Monika MÜHLWERTH, Mr Axel KASSEGGER, Mr Martin GRAF

Votes: 18 in favor 45 against 9 abstentions

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 5.3.7, insert the following paragraph:

"5.x.x. migration due to 'climate disasters' should be organised in such a way that the migration is limited as much as possible to one's own region, in order to accommodate the migrant or refugee as much as possible within one's own cultural area."

03 October 2019

Tabled by Mr Michel BRANDT, Mr Antón GÓMEZ-REINO, Mr Sokratis FAMELLOS, Mr Jussi SARAMO, Ms Feleknas UCA

Votes: 40 in favor 18 against 12 abstentions

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 5.3.7, insert the following paragraph:

"5.x. to develop a legal status in the asylum systems of member States and in international law for people fleeing long-term climate changes in their native country. The early industrialised member States of the European Council carry a particular responsability to those countries, especially of the "global south" affected by human-made climate change, and should therefore appropriately provide considerable asylum for climate refugees."

03 October 2019

Tabled by Mr Tom van GRIEKEN, Mr Bob De BRABANDERE, Mr Ulrich OEHME, Mr Paolo GRIMOLDI, Mr Martin HEBNER, Ms Monika MÜHLWERTH

Votes: 15 in favor 46 against 11 abstentions

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 5.3.7, insert the following paragraph:

"When immigration is driven by so-called 'climate change' and not by economic, religious and geopolitical motives, then the location where these 'refugees' are received is not a location that should be chosen on the basis of these motives. On the contrary, it is still best for every refugee anywhere in the world to be received as close as home as possible, in their own region. The advantages are many: one stays in one's own cultural area, sometimes even in one's own language area, which can only facilitate integration into society. In this way, a clash of cultures, customs and habits is avoided as much as possible - which is only positive for both the refugee and the host nation or region."