A United Nations panel ruled that climate crisis refugees cannot be forced to return home. Legal claims are now expected from thousands of displaced people across the globe.

Ioane Teitiota applied for protection in New Zealand after he claimed his life was at risk in Kiribati, the Pacific Island at risk of rising sea levels. The committee ruled against Teitiota because his life was not at imminent risk. However, it did mention that countries would violate international rights if they are forced back to countries where climate change is an immediate threat.

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The ruling said, “Without robust national and international efforts, the effects of climate change in receiving states may expose individuals to a violation of their rights.” Until a situation gets dire enough for a ruling in a citizen’s favor, the rules won’t apply.

The World Bank estimated in 2018 that 143 million people in South Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa could become climate migrants. The decision also said, “Given that the risk of an entire country becoming submerged under water is such an extreme risk, the conditions of life in such a country may become incompatible with the right to life with dignity before the risk is realized.”

Read more One Green Planet news on climate change and citizen displacement, check out these articles:

The United Nation recently released a report warning countries about the dangers of climate change. They also urged people to reduce their dairy and meat intake by opting for more plant-based foods as one way to take climate action. We highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

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