UN expert on climate as a reason for Flight: the right to life is threatened

removals in climate change, countries such as deportations, in civil war countries. Andreas Zimmermann from the UN human rights Committee says. Kiribati is no

UN expert on climate as a reason for Flight: the right to life is threatened

removals in climate change, countries such as deportations, in civil war countries. Andreas Zimmermann from the UN human rights Committee says.

Kiribati is not only because of the stranded plastic waste into danger photo: Barbara Dombrowski/laif

taz: Mr. Zimmermann, the UN human rights Committee has dealt with the protection of climate refugees. You are a member of this Committee. What has been decided?

Andreas Zimmermann: We have found that States must not deport them to areas where climate change threatens the right to life.

What was the case?

Ioane Teitiota, from the island nation of Kiribati traveled in 2007 with his wife to new Zealand. In 2010, his stay ended right. Then he applied for in new Zealand asylum because of the consequences of climate change for the Pacific island, which is in part only two meters above sea level. The new Zealand authorities and the courts rejected the request for asylum. 2015 Teitiota was deported to Kiribati.

the Committee Saw the right of Mr Teitiota hurt?

no, in this specific case, we have found no violation of the Right to life. The UN human rights Committee has noted that the new Zealand Authorities investigated his concerns sufficiently thoroughly and carefully.

The Committee examined only whether the authorities and the courts have grappled in new Zealand enough with the Situation in Kiribati?

photo: Kaya Neutzer/University of Potsdam

Andrew carpenter 58, since 2018 is a member of the UN human rights Committee and Professor of Public law at the University of Potsdam. He is also a Director of the human rights centre at the University of Potsdam.

Yes, we check, whether the decision of the state is arbitrary or a denial of justice is. This was not the case here.

The UN human rights Committee referred to its decision in a press release as "historical". Why?

Because the Committee met for the first time, in the case of a climate refugee, and standards has set, which may lead in future cases to different results. Relevant to the time of the last national decision, so here's the year 2015 is for our testing always. In some years, the Situation in Kiribati, and similar States may be different.

it is important that Kiribati is already under water?

no, this is also an important aspect of our decision. The right to life can be violated before the risk of climate change have been realized. A deportation is not excluded when the population is in the country of destination, the water up to the neck.

How far in advance of the disaster of the international legal protection? There is a rule of thumb?

no. The threat is too complex. It is not just about sea-level Rise. Climate change also leads to the increase in extreme weather events such as Storms, Tsunamis and droughts. Mr Teitiota has also argued that, in Kiribati, the surface of the arable Lands decreases and, therefore, bloody conflicts over Land are increasing in number. Also, such social disruptions are to be taken into account.

On the other hand, has bought the government of Kiribati is already the Land on a neighbouring island, which belongs to Fiji. There parts of the roughly 100,000 Kiribater could, if necessary, be relocated.

Also the protection measures of the governments are to be taken into account, such as an increase in the dikes or by relocation. Just because the situation is so complex, we can control only whether the national Authorities serious with the impending risks of deportation have been dealing.

to examine The deportation in a climate change threatened the Land is so similar to the deportation in a civil war country?

Yes, this is a similar constellation.

How binding are their decisions for the States?

The UN human rights Committee monitors compliance with the UN Covenant on civil and political rights. This Pact, signed by 172 countries and ratified. Because of the Pact for these States is binding, the UN human rights Committee, that the States hold to the interpretation of the Pact by the Committee.

Often, their decisions are referred to only as "recommendations"...

That's right. In our view, the decisions of the UN human rights Committee but binding, even if we are not able to enforce them with force.

the UN human rights Committee a court?

When it comes to individual complaints, the Committee, like a court of law. The UN human rights Committee, but also has other tasks. He examines state reports on the situation of human rights and explained in detail in "general comments" ("General remarks") the obligations of the States.

Who may to the UN human rights Committee apply?

116 countries, including Germany, have ratified an additional Protocol, which allows it to turn with a complaint about the relevant state to the body.

Who sits on the Committee?

18 lawyers from all over the world, who were elected by the States parties.

Why the Committee in Germany is so little known?

civil and human rights in Germany are already protected by the Federal constitutional court. Who is not agreed to its decisions, must decide whether he is addressing the UN human rights Committee or the European court of human rights in Strasbourg. Most people opt for going to Strasbourg. In other Parts of the world, the Committee has, however, of great importance.

Updated Date: 14 February 2020, 09:00

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