Climate migration from a gender perspective: Legal avenues to address invisibility

Climate change evidences a clear fragilisation of human rights, especially in territories already experiencing greater exposure to the effects of climate change and less resilience due to existing socio-economic contexts. The interconnected realities of climate change and the contexts of poverty, food insecurity and conflict have differential consequences for women and girls, exacerbated by situations of forced migration. This study reflects on international legal avenues to address, on the one hand, the lack of international legal recognition of climate migration and, on the other, the absence of a gender perspective. Legal silence renders invisible the differential vulnerability of women migrants, while the effects of climate change and gender discrimination shape their entire migration process. In order to protect women climate migrants, this contribution proposes the extension of the non-refoulement obligation and the granting of humanitarian permits as legal avenues to address invisibility.

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Dr. Susana Borràs-Pentinat is an associate professor of International Environmental Law and EU Law at the Università degli Studi di Macerata (Italy) and University Rovira i Virgili (URV)(Spain). Currently, she is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow on the Project CLIMOVE (Climate Migration from a gender perspective). Member of the Research Group on Environmental Law, Citizenship, and Sustainability at the Center for Environmental Law Studies (CEDAT-URV). Visiting researcher at the Committee on Challenges of Modern Society (NATO) Belgium; the Max Planck Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht, Germany; the Center of International Environmental Law (CIEL) USA and at the Center for Recherche of The Hague Academy of International Law and International Relations (The Netherlands). Legal expert on climate change and refugees for the South American Network for Environmental Migration and the Catalan Commission for Refugee Aid. Academic Director of the Spanish Platform on climate displacements and migration. Her main fields of research are climate migration, Nature rights, climate justice, ecofeminism, human rights, and environmental defenders.