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HEAT OF THE MOMENT

Australia urged to recognize climate-change refugees

Council says new category would protect those fleeing effects of global warming

(London Guardian) Australia, a close neighbour of small, low-lying South Pacific states at the frontline of climate change, should be the first country to formally recognize climate change refugees, the country’s main refugee advisory body has said.

The Refugee Council of Australia has told the Australian government that it should create a new refugee category for those fleeing the effects of climate change so that they can be offered protection similar to those escaping war or persecution.

The key legal document that defines refugees, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, defines a refugee as a person who has a well-founded fear of persecution in their homeland because of their race, religion, nationality of membership of a particular group.

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