The silent suffering of climate migrants

In a recent article for Project Syndicate, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Md. Shahidul Haque and High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Sri Lank, M. Riaz Hamidullah write about how current environmental disasters continue to threaten the security of individuals, not just in the face of mass disasters, but on a daily basis. The authors explain that much of the discourse surrounding climate refugees occurs in the face of disasters, but those who are face displacement over time receive little to no media attention, and therefore, no protection.

In Bangladesh, the rising levels of sediment due to the consistency of monsoons has made many waterways lose their carrying capacity. Hamidullah and Haque wrote that this slow-burning crisis affects the entire well being of the country as key economic areas, like fishing, farming, and infrastructure, and reports from the Asian Development Bank put the country facing a 3% decline in GDP. 

Despite Bengali President Hasina asking for help from the international community, other actors have remained silent. With the obvious threats to the physical security of climate migrants, the authors explain the dangerous generational effects of this as children grow up without a place of belonging. While there have been international recognition of the existence of climate refugees, there have not been adequate protections for these people.

Hamidullah and Haque are using this piece as a platform to urge the international community to engage in the Platform on Disaster Displacement and implement more protective and preventive measures for climate migrants. This serves as an asking to let climate migrants have the “right to survive and prosper,” rather than their continuing to suffer in silence.

You can read the full piece from Project Syndicate here.

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