The UN should protect climate refugees

The UN should protect climate refugees

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Bronwyn Walsh started this petition to United Nations and

The current definition of refugees as recognized by the UN is "someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group" (UN Refugee Agency). Currently however, more than 25 million people are forced to leave their homes due to natural disasters every year, most being caused by anthropogenic climate changes, or human caused environmental issues, and this number could rise to 150 million people by 2050.

Things such as prolonged drought caused by erratic rainfall and rising sea levels displace people globally, however those who are most affected live in impoverished situations and cannot easily move. In 2019, the drought in Somalia has forced "more than 49,000 people to flee their homes since the beginning of the year as they search for food, water, aid and work mostly in urban areas. People who are already displaced because of conflict and violence are also affected by the drought, at times disproportionally" (UN Refugee Agency). In Honduras, some farms have lost as much as 90 percent of their annual production in the past ten years, forcing families to migrate. Don Alfredo, a Honduran farmer says he "has already attempted to cross the border once and been caught and deported. But they simply have no other choice. It's take the risk, or starve” (The Future of Climate Change Refugees).

This issue is also disproportionately caused by affluent countries such as the US, who have contributed vastly to climate change and continue to do so. We need to hold these countries accountable, and we need to change the UN definition of refugees to ensure that we can protect environmental refugees.

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