6 Geo. Int'l Envtl. L. Rev. 151 (1993-1994)
Environmental Refugees: Applying International Environmental Law to Involuntary Migration

handle is hein.journals/gintenlr6 and id is 159 raw text is: NOTES
Environmental Refugees: Applying International
Environmental Law to Involuntary Migration
The moving, questing people were migrants now. Those families which
had lived on a little piece of land, who had lived and died on forty acres,
had eaten or starved on the produce of forty acres, had now the whole
West to rove in. And they scampered about, looking for work; and the
highways were streams of people, and the ditch banks were lines of
people. Behind them more were coming.1
In her statement before last June's UN Conference on Environment and
Development (UNCED) in Rio, the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR) Sadako Ogata explained that environmental
degradation is not only a cause but also a consequence of refugee
movements.2 She continued:
UNHCR therefore fully supports the draft proposal, outlined in Chapter
5 of Agenda 21 that more research should be undertaken to investigate
the interaction between environmental and socio-economic factors, and
the possible implications of this relationship for migration. Clearly, a
more informed approach is vital if we are to deal with the refugee and
migration issue in a comprehensive, humane and effective manner.3
Chapter Five generally addresses the tension between more population and
less land, but its call for more research is the extent of its action.
* The author wishes to thank the attorneys and staff of UNHCR Branch Office Ankara, Turkey
for providing him with the opportunity to work in refugee law and gather materials for this Note; the
Ford Foundation for their grant to fund his work and research in Turkey; Professors Edith Brown
Weiss and Charles Keely for their in and out of classroom guidance; and interviewees Susan Forbes
Martin, John Topping, Ruven Menikdiwela and Richard Perruchoud for their time and insights.
1. JOHN STEINBECK, THE GRAPES OF WRATH 362 (Penguin Books 1987) (1939).
2. Mrs. Sadako Ogata, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Statement at the
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Rio de Janeiro 2 (June
10, 1992) (transcript available from UNHCR Public Information Offices) [hereinafter Ogata 1].
3. Id.

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