Rights activists on Saturday stressed the need for recognising within a legal framework the impacts of climate change as one of the forces behind people’s displacement.
It is high time that legal protection was ensured to environmentally displaced people as natural disasters like cyclone, drought, flood and earthquake were displacing people, they said.
They were speaking at a seminar that discussed issues which should feature prominently in the global compacts the UN is planning to prepare on migration and refugee by January 2018.
According to the keynote paper presented at the seminar, the impacts of climate change displaced a person every second during the time between 2008 and 2015 around the globe.
The change in climate is likely to drive one in every five Bangladeshis out of their homes by 2020, predicted the paper.
In 2007, the cyclone Sidr displaced at least 6.50 lakh people in Bangladesh. Floods in 2014 displaced 5.42 lakh people, it said.
‘Surveys have shown that natural disasters play a role in displacing people. Now is the time we proved it through evidences and with scientific interpretations,’ said Jahangirnagar University teacher Sharmind Neelormi.
Climate change researcher Atiq Rahman cited the flash floods that devastated standing boro crops over two hundreds of thousands of hectares of land in seven northeastern districts as a sign of a change in the climate.
‘This type of disaster is likely to recur in renewed intensity in the coming years,’ said Atiq.
‘One of the greatest threats of such change in the climate is displacement of people,’ he added.
Foreign ministry director general Nahida Sobhan said the international community should take into account climate-change-induced migration while formulating legal frameworks on migration and refugee.
‘Never in the past were we in so much need to fight for the rights of people at the risk of losing their homes due to environmental reasons,’ said foreign secretary Sahidul Haque.
Lawmaker Rustam Ali Faraji, PKSF chairman Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, IOM deputy chief of mission Abdusattor Esoev, British Council representative Catherine Cecil and Oxfam representative Monisha Biswas also participated in the seminar titled ‘UN global compacts and climate displacement: Bangladesh civil society perspective.’
COAST, equitybd, UNHCR, Platform on Disaster Displacement and Norwegian Refugee Council jointly organised the seminar at
CIRDAP in the morning.