Dhaka 20 June 2009: 20th June, on the day of World Refugee Day, Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD) and several other organizations organized a Human Chain in front of the National Press Club Dhaka while they demanded international commitment and justice to combat forced displacement caused by climate change. Md Shamsuddoha, General Secretary of EquityBD said that that the greatest single impact of climate change might be on human migration. He said, by 2050 the disruptions of monsoon systems and other rainfall regimes, droughts, sea level rise and coastal flooding would cause forced displacement of many as 200 million people globally while in Bnagladesh this figure would reach to 30 million. It would mean that by 2050 one in every 7 people in Bangladesh would have been displaced by climate change. Although the world is predicting the future floods of the climate change induced forced migrants but, still, no policy measures have taken yet to safeguard them; even there is no specific terms and concepts of referring these climate change induced migrants.
The speaker from the human chain argued that the current mandate of UNHCR on refugees’ covers only individual who flee their countries because of state-led persecution based on race, religion, political opinion, or ethnicity. The mandate of the UN Refugee Convention does neither cover nor comply the core characteristics of the climate change induced migrants crisis. Therefore, the people forced to be migrated due to climate change should bestow a different status and a different term and they should be given a dignified status ‘Universal Natural Person’ with social, cultural and economic rehabilitation.
The speaker said that the recent past weather extreme events in Bnagladesh like cyclone Sidr and Aila made many people homeless. These homeless people finally find their destination in the urban slums while they face serious violation of human rights. The speaker urgued, considering the notion of justice to the climate change induced migrants and also taking into consideration the article 13 of the 1948 Declaration of Human Right, the international community and especially the United Nations must ensure protection of the forced migrants. In line with the HR declaration and equity principle of UNFCCC, the speakers demanded a separate, independent legal and political regime under a Protocol to safeguard the ‘climate change induced migrants ’. This protocol could be drawn on widely agreed principles such as common but differentiated responsibilities of the country Parties. In this regard, the climate change induced migrants must be treated as permanent immigrants to the regions or countries that accept them.
Among others, Sanat K. Bhowmik, Mostofa Kamal Akhand, Sawkat Ali tutul, Gaza Sumsuzaman, Abdur Rahman and Atiqul Islam Chowdhury of EquityBD were present in the human chain.