19-06-2012

PAM reiterates call for the status of “Environmental Refugee” to be recognized in international law

The Naples Chamber of Advocates held the “10th Stage on EU Law - Andrea Cafiero”, in Santa Maria di Castellabate, Italy, on 8-10 June, 2012.  The 3 day event, attended by some 100 judges and lawyers from European Institutions, Italy, France and Spain, touched upon a number of legal topics ranging from the family law, immigration, environment and energy.
The Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), Amb. Sergio Piazzi, moderated the second session dedicated to Immigration and gave a general overview of the Assembly’s approach and initiatives related to migratory phenomena in the Mediterranean region, focusing on Security, Political, Economic and Human Rights aspects, as well as on current data and prospects. He recalled, among others, the differences between legal and illegal migrations, as well as that of economic migrants versus asylum seekers. He also indicated that in its report presented to the Assembly’s 4th Plenary Session in Istanbul, Turkey (2010), and in collaboration with the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM), PAM described Forced Migration as ‘a general term that refers to the movements of refugees and internally displaced people (those displaced by conflicts, as well as people displaced by natural or environmental disasters, chemical or nuclear disasters, or development projects)’.
A year earlier, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean dedicated one of its Special Task Forces to the study of “forced migration” in the Mediterranean region.  PAM also focused on Environmental Migration, which includes people displaced as a result of natural disasters, climate change and man-made disasters. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, at its Plenary Session in Monaco in 2008, adopted unanimously a declaration calling for the status of “Environmental Refugee” to be recognized in international law, as proposed by Hon. Elissavet Papademetriou of Greece.
On that occasion, PAM called all its member states to contribute to: an agreement on a common international definition of environmental refugees and that of displaced people; to reflect and debate on the problem of creating a specific legal instrument (new convention) within the framework of the United Nations on environmental refugees, as the 1951 Refugee Convention was not applicable; to exchange best practices among PAM countries which are also host countries on general policies towards “forced migrants”; to collaborate and share information with other regional parliaments and with international organizations involved in forced migration. Moreover, in its attempt to target the roots of the Environmental Migration, PAM has dedicated the work of its 2nd Standing Committee for 2012 to address the Environmental threats facing the Mediterranean region.
“Indeed, all PAM countries are either countries of origin, of transit or of destination, and the migration phenomenon is a much debated issue in the whole region”, Dr. Piazzi concluded.//
 MEDIA INFORMATION: 36/2012
ISSUED ON: 19.06.2012
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