If the impacts of climate change drive people from their homes, what happens to their relationship with their home country?
Disasters and other impacts of climate change are already displacing millions of people each year. Pacific countries and territories are especially exposed.
This groundbreaking report provides the first in-depth look at the legal risks of statelessness and nationality loss in the Pacific as climate change hits.
The Future of Nationality in the Pacific: Preventing Statelessness and Nationality Loss in the context of Climate Change was published on 17 May 2022 by three partnering institutions – the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness at the University of Melbourne, the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at the University of New South Wales, and the University of Technology Sydney.
The report finds that under current laws, some Pacific Islanders who move abroad permanently risk losing their citizenship, or the ability to pass it on to their children. Entitlements such as voting or standing for office play a powerful role in ongoing connection to home, even for citizens living elsewhere.
‘Nationality law is a formal means of holding on to your identity – and with it, entitlements such as voting or standing for office, and, ultimately, self-determination,' says Professor Michelle Foster, Director of the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness. 'The ability to retain your citizenship while living elsewhere, and to pass it down to your children, plays a powerful role in ongoing connection to home.'
This research was funded by the Australian Research Council, and it was undertaken by a cross-university team comprising Michelle Foster and Nicola Hard (University of Melbourne), Hélène Lambert (UTS) and Jane McAdam (UNSW).