Articles tagged with: Displacement

Our Common Humanity: Human Rights and Refugee Protection

on Tuesday, 26 April 2016. Posted in Issue 78 The Search for Refuge, Poverty & Inequality, International Issues

PdfIconOur Common Humanity: Human Rights and Refugee Protection

Colin Harvey


The global refugee crisis is raising profound questions about the status and effectiveness of protection regimes at all levels. It should also prompt reflection on the present international order and why, despite the plea of ‘never again’, we still witness human rights violations on massive scales. 

The world remains a structurally unequal place, where social injustice is rampant, and individuals and communities are routinely forced to flee their homes. However small it may now feel, the interdependent world we inhabit is not the welcoming place we might expect. Recognition of our common humanity increasingly runs parallel with exclusion, deterrence and deflection. For many, but not all, the world is a much more tightly regulated space, where states determine the contours of movement on a highly instrumental basis. The lives of individuals and communities become secondary to strategic games lacking in mercy and compassion. The plight of the forcibly displaced therefore presents a distinctive set of challenges: to deliver justice to the ‘stranger’ in need and to struggle for justice and peace in our world.  

Pope Francis continues to place great emphasis on refugee protection, and his work has generated a renewed focus on the social doctrine of the Church. Through word and deed, he demonstrates an openness to the humanity of the refugee. This is reflective of a long-standing practical engagement within the Catholic tradition of respect for the human rights of the forcibly displaced, and an embrace of an inclusive concept of ‘refugee’.1 Underpinning this perspective is a strong alignment with many pressing concerns of the modern human rights movement. At its heart is enduring respect for the dignity of the human person, and a conscious negation of all forms of domination and oppression that deny our inherent dignity. The demand is to experience the person first, as someone in need of our support and help. 

Climate Change and Population Displacement

on Tuesday, 26 April 2016. Posted in Environment, Issue 78 The Search for Refuge

PdfIconClimate Change and Population Displacement

 Catherine Devitt


The September 2015 issue of Working Notes had as its main theme, ‘Caring for our Common Home’,1 exploring aspects of our relationship with the natural environment, while providing a strong moral argument for taking urgent action in response to threats to our environment, including those arising from climate change.

Simply put, climate change is the altering of the Earth’s climate due to human-induced atmospheric and terrestrial changes, with significant implications for weather patterns, biodiversity, agriculture, and economic and social systems in general.  

This article opens with an outline of the main ramifications of climate change, followed by a focus on the relationship between climate change and population displacement. The status under international law of people displaced by climate change is considered next, and the article concludes by indicating some of the key issues involved in preventing and responding to climate-related displacement.