December 19, 2018

International Migration Day: Climate Migration is Here

Media Statement on International Migration Day

Today, 18 December, is UN’s International Migrants Day. According to a recent report by UNHCR, there are 65.6 million displaced people in the world today, fleeing due to persecution, violence, human rights violations, and environmental disasters — all amplified by the climate crisis. From African migrants choosing to cross by boat from North Africa to Europe to Pacific Islanders losing their homes due to rising sea levels and Central American migrants fleeing their home countries in search of refuge – people around the world are being driven from their homes by droughts, storms, food shortages, political and economic strife and conflict that often exacerbated by climate disasters.

Olivia Langhoff,  Programme Director at, commented:

“Fighting climate change is about much more than emissions and scientific metrics – it’s about fighting for a just and sustainable world that works for all of us and not just a few.  Building higher walls detaining and deporting people only increase the suffering of people displaced by climate impacts.

There is an urgent need to develop appropriate strategies to address the causes of climate-displacement, and to take measures for these people’s resettlement and rehabilitation in a dignified way. We must prioritise the saving of lives and stop criminalising those who are migrating nor those who support migrants.

There can be no more excuses  to not urgently and actively implement pro-migrant  policies that support those who are faced with the worst impacts of climate change.

We know that climate migration will be more prominent than ever. And it’s essential  that we ensure that we have humane and empowering policies and build global understanding and cooperation.”