Not a slow burn: the urgent need for a protection mechanism for environmentally displaced persons – The Philippines
Selina Irene O Ablaza Junior Associate, Gerodias Suchianco Estrella Law Firm, The Philippines

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This article considers whether we should continue to try to force the experiences of environmentally displaced persons to fit the traditional definition of ‘refugees’; or whether we should instead recognize that certain inherent differences necessitate treating persons displaced by climate as a separate category of persons of concern. An argument is made in favour of the latter, which highlights the urgent need for the development and implementation of a specific protection mechanism to address climate displacement, given the lack of accommodation under the existing international legal framework on refugee protection. Also highlighted is the role of domestic legislation in the protection of environmentally displaced persons with a particular focus on the Philippines. The Philippines is vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, with the displacement of numerous people every year due to the onslaught of typhoons and other disasters. In conclusion, recommendations are made for interim measures and future legislation to address climate displacement.

Contributor Notes

The author would like to acknowledge Professor Jacqueline Espenilla, University of the Philippines College of Law, for whose Refugee Law JD course in the Juris Doctor programme, University of the Philippines College of Law, the first draft of this article was written.

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