Rising Statelessness Due to Disappearing Island States
Does the Current Status of International Law Offer Sufficient Protection?
Scientific prognoses have shown that by the year 2100, several low-lying island states such as Tuvalu and Kiribati will disappear due to rising sea levels. The submergence of whole territories will have consequences including the displacement of a huge number of islanders. In that context, the question of how to protect their human rights in their future host states is of great importance. In fact, their human rights protection will most likely prove even more difficult if disappearing island states are considered to have lost statehood. Without the nationality of any state, those displaced islanders will be stateless under international law. In this article, the author assesses whether displaced island populations are sufficiently protected by existing international law norms or whether the international community is called upon to create new rules addressing these future challenges.