Laura Amy Disley (QMUL) - 2022-23 Students

The International Legal Protection Offered to People Crossing Borders Due to Climate Change and the Case of Salvadoran Migrants.

The origins of climate change-induced migration discourse dates back to the 1980s when scientists and environmental activists argued that, left unaddressed, climate change could lead to mass displacement. Over 30 years later, those who seek asylum on the basis of environmental factors alone are offered no international legal protection. This research will:

(1) Assess the current legal definition offered to those seeking refugee status due to environmental factors; identifying where gaps in international protection lie.

(2) Analyse the protection challenges for people who are moving in the context of climate change through a case study of Salvadoran migrants.

(3) Evaluate and propose changes to legal protection based on the experiences of Salvadoran migrants.

This research is aimed at addressing this gap by proposing changes to the existing legal protections, ensuring those crossing borders as a result of climate change are protected. It will draw out the complexities of the topic reflecting upon and suggesting how the law should grapple with this important yet complex situation, with the aim of being influential to academics and policy makers on an international scale.

Primary supervisor: Prof. Elspeth Guild, QMUL
Secondary supervisor: Prof. David Whyte, QMUL

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