Human rights, climate change and migration

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) highlights the obligations and responsibilities of States and other duty-bearers to address the human mobility challenges created by climate change. States must ensure that any measure or legislation that governs or affects migration is consistent with their human rights law obligations and does not adversely affect the full enjoyment of the human rights of migrants. Policies and negotiations on climate change and migration, including the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and work within the Task Force on Displacement of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, should comply with the human rights obligations outlined in OHCHR's Key Messages on Human Rights, Climate Change and Migration.

HRC panel discussion on human rights, climate change, migrants and persons displaced across international borders
Human Rights Council resolution 35/20 requested the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights “to organize an intersessional panel discussion prior to the commencement of phase II of the intergovernmental process leading to the global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration, with the theme ‘Human rights, climate change, migrants and persons displaced across international borders’”. This panel discussion took place on 6 October 2017 with the participation of States, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other relevant stakeholders. The panel concept note, statements of the participants, video of the panel and summary report are available below:

Statements by panellists

OHCHR expert meeting and study on the slow-onset effects of climate change and human rights protection for cross-border migrants

Throughout the course of 2017, OHCHR, in collaboration with the Platform on Disaster Displacement, researched and prepared a report on the slow-onset effects of climate change and human rights protection for cross-border migrants. The report was discussed at an expert meeting on the same subject and the finalized report was submitted as a conference room paper to the Human Rights Council during its 37th session in March 2018. The programme for the expert meeting, the summary of recommendations from the meeting and the conference room paper are available below.

High Commissioner's report on human rights, migration and climate change

Resolution 35/20 requested that the Office undertake research and prepare a report on human rights protection gaps in the context of migration and displacement of persons across international borders resulting from the sudden-onset and slow-onset adverse effects of climate change and the necessary means of implementation of adaptation and mitigation plans of developing countries to bridge the protection gaps.

To inform this research, OHCHR transmitted a Note Verbale [English | French] and Questionnaire [English | French]  to all Member States requesting their inputs. Other relevant stakeholders including NGOs, UN Agencies, IGOs, Academic Institutions and NHRIS were invited to respond to the questionnaire and provide inputs. The inputs received are available below. The report, A/HRC/38/21 is available here:

Member States

National Human Rights Institutions

United Nations

Experts