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Item 3: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons

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ITEM 3: PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF ALL HUMAN RIGHTS, CIVIL, POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT: REPORT OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS

 

Thank you Mr. President.

 

 

The Report of the Special Rapporteur focusses on urgent conflict-induced displacement but I take this opportunity to express the view that the impact of slow-onset disasters and climate change and its implications on internal displacement of human security now also requires attention. The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants recommends more effective strategies for dealing with displacement and that is equally relevant for displacement precipitated by disasters and climates change.

 

The Report says that internally displaced persons are frequently the least, the last and the lost in terms of national and international attention so providing a standard for the protection of internally displaced persons and to increase awareness of their difficulties nationally, regionally and internationally should be imperative. How many countries in the world have relocation policies for internal climate change displacement? How many of those are rooted on a foundation of human rights? How many of them are participatory, inclusive and realistic? How many take into account cultural links with the lost land and the cultural rights of other communities over the land to be settled?

In Fiji the Fijian village of Vunidogolo had become the first to be relocated under our climate change programme abandoning their traditional compound due to high tide, damaging houses and ruining crops. The government constructed of 30 houses, fish ponds and copra drier, farms and other projects had been set up in the new village site. It is expected that 34 other villages will also be moved due to an eroding coastline and an encroaching ocean. Two other villages are partially relocated in Cakaudrove. Seven households at Narikoso Village on Ono in Kadavu has been built and rebuilding project of Waciwaci District School in Lau.

 

The primary responsibility for protecting populations of internally displaced persons within national State boundaries remains with the respective States, so Fiji will pursue planned relocation only after having considered all other adaptation options, or where all other options are cost-prohibitive, and the affected community has sought relocation after exhausting all feasible options. Therefore, Fiji is currently working on a Relocation Guideline Framework based on the National Climate Change Policy to provide guidance for communities considering adaptation or planned relocation because of climate change within Fiji to reduce vulnerability and enhance the resilience of communities is sustainable for all parties affected, both directly and indirectly.

 

Fiji has welcomed and is willing to provide refuge to citizens of Pacific Island countries which are under threat from climate change and rising seas including the countries of Tuvalu, Kiribati and Marshall Islands. Kiribati has already purchased land of 5500 acres of land in Fiji. However, there are no legal precedents nor rules about the basis for such resettlement, nor about the economic and social rights of those resettled when their islands have become inhabitable.

Thus, all is uncharted territory. Mr President, I believe that we all would benefit from a Report from theSpecial Rapporteur on climate change and disaster displacement which would provide guidance on relocation, cross border movement and human rights. Certainly, such a Report is now, for the Pacific Islands, urgently needed.

 

Thank you.

 

 

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Suva, Fiji

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