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6 N.Y.U. Envtl. L.J. 480 (1997-1998)
Environmental Refugees: Meeting the Requirements of the Refugee Definition

handle is hein.journals/nyuev6 and id is 488 raw text is: STUDENT ARTICLE
ENVIRONMENTAL REFUGEES:
MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS OF
THE REFUGEE DEFINITION
JESSICA B. COOPER*
INTRODUCTION
LIMITATIONS OF THE REFUGEE DEFINITION
A refugee is any person who:
owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of
race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social
group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nation-
ality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail
himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a
nationality and being outside the country of his former habit-
ual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to
such fear, is unwilling to return to it.1
Set forth at the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to
the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention), this legal defini-
tion of refugee remains the functional core of international ref-
ugee jurisprudence.2 The 1951 definition continues to guide the
* B.S., 1993, University of Wisconsin-Madison; J.D., 1997, New York Uni-
versity School of Law. The author, who served as Colloquium Editor for the
N.Y.U. ENvIRONMENTAL LAW JoumNAL during the 1996-1997 academic year, is
an Associate in the litigation department of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. The
author would like to thank Professor Arthur Helton for his kind help on this
Note.
1 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, July 28, 1951, art. 1(A)(2),
19 U.S.T. 6259, 6261, 189 U.N.T.S. 137, 152 (entered into force Apr. 22, 1954)
[hereinafter Refugee Convention].
2 In 1967, the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees expanded the 1951
definition primarily by removing language limiting refugees to those fearing
persecution [a]s a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951. Protocol
Relating to the Status of Refugees, Jan. 31,4967, art. 1(2), 19 U.S.T. 6223, 6225,
606 U.N.T.S. 267, 268 (entered into force Oct. 4, 1967) [hereinafter Protocol].
By inference, the Protocol extended the definition to cover refugees displaced
by events occurring in years during or following 1951 as well. See id. The Pro-
tocol did not alter the 1951 definition of refugee for purposes of this analysis.
The core elements of the refugee definition have remained unchanged for 46
years.
480

Imaged with the Permission of N.Y.U. Environmental Law Journal

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