Ioane Teitiota v New Zealand: A landmark ruling for climate refugees?

Katrien Steenmans, Aaron Cooper

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In January 2020, the Human Rights Committee published their views in the case of Ioane Teitiota v New Zealand in what has been hailed as ‘landmark’ ruling. The case concerned a national of Kiribati seeking asylum in New Zealand as he claimed the effects of climate change and sea level rise in his native country violated his right to life under Article 6(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This article has a two-fold purpose. First, it examines the ruling and sets out why the case has been considered landmark, before reviewing some of the possible effects the ruling may have on areas of debate in law surrounding climate refugees. In relation to the latter purpose, this article in particular focuses on its contribution to (1) debates on the term ‘climate refugee’, and (2) the call for universal legal instruments for climate migrants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalCoventry Law Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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