Conflict and Climate Change in the Sahel: A Case for Redefining "Refugee"
There are more displaced people in the world than ever before. Drivers of displacement have evolved since the inception of refugee law to include civil war, internal armed conflicts, terrorism, and climate change. These modern drivers of displacement are not accounted for in the 1951 Convention, and therefore those displaced due to these drivers are not eligible for international protection. This paper will examine the Sahel region of Africa to establish that environmental disruptions and situations of generalized violence are major drivers of displacement in the region. International refugee law including the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Additional Protocol as well as regional refugee law such as the Cartagena Declaration and OAU Convention will be analyzed in conjunction with drivers of displacement in the Sahel to determine that both international and regional bodies of refugee law are insufficient to protect those fleeing situations of generalized violence and the negative effects of climate change. Finally, this paper will propose an additional protocol to the 1951 Convention which would make those fleeing situations of generalized violence, natural events, or environmental disruptions which may result from climate change eligible for international protection.
International law|Environmental Law
Whelan, Emma Harding, "Conflict and Climate Change in the Sahel: A Case for Redefining "Refugee"" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI27964135.