Human rights, climate change and migration
OHCHR and climate change
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 relating to 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.
Activities, events and reports
As part of OHCHR's work on climate change and migration, the following activities have been conducted. Read about them in more detail below.
- OHCHR expert meeting and study on the slow-onset effects of climate change and human rights protection for cross-border migrants (March 2018)
- Human Rights Council panel discussion on human rights, climate change, migrants and persons displaced across international borders (October 2017)
- High Commissioner's report on human rights, migration and climate change (April 2018)
- Report on human rights, climate change and migration in the Sahel (2021)
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. To inform this research, OHCHR requested input from all Member States and other relevant stakeholders including NGOs, UN Agencies, IGOs, Academic Institutions and NHRIs. Read the report here.
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 the expert meeting and the final report was submitted as a conference room paper to the Human Rights Council in March 2018.
- Programme of the expert meeting
- Summary of Recommendations
- Read the report The Slow onset effects of climate change and human rights protection for cross-border migrants (A/HRC/37/CRP.4)
Panel discussion on human rights, climate change, migrants and persons displaced across international borders
In resolution 35/20, the Human Rights Council requested the Office "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, OHCHR and other relevant stakeholders.
- Summary of the panel discussion on human rights, climate change, migrants and persons displaced across international borders (A/HRC/37/35)
- Concept note
- Opening Statement by Ms. Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Keynote video message by Ms. Louise Arbour, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration
- Video of the Panel Discussion
Statements by panellists
- Mr. Walter Kaelin, Envoy of the Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement
- Ms. Njeri Kabeberi, Executive Director of Greenpeace Africa
- Mr. Itinterunga Rae Bainteiti, National Coordinator at the Kiribati National Youth Association of NGOs
- Ms. Erika Ramos, Founder, South American Network for Environmental Migrations (RESAMA)
Inputs received for the High Commissioner's report on human rights, migration and climate change
National human rights institutions
- Defensoría del Pueblo de Ecuador
- Greek National Commission for Human Rights
- Philippines Commission on Human Rights
- International Organization for Migration
- United Nations Children’s Fund
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees