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0907346 [2009] RRTA 1168

Jurisdiction: Refugee Review Tribunal

Side A: Anonymous applicant (Individual)

Side B: Australia Minister for Immigration and Citizenship (Government)

Core objectives: Applicant sought protection under Refugee Act due to sea level rise.

The applicant sought review of the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship delegate’s decision to refuse to grant the applicant a Protection (Class XA) visa under s.65 of the Migration Act 1958. The applicant claimed to be a citizen of Kirbati, which is a pacific country made of a series of islands threatened by sea level rise. The applicant had last arrived in Australia in December 2007 and applied for the visa in May 2009. The delegate decided to refuse the visa in August 2009. The applicant applied for a review of the decision in September 2009. 

Australia is a party to the Refugees Convention, which defines a refugee as: being outside his country; fearing persecution involving serious harm and systematic and discriminatory conduct; fearing that persecution because of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion; and having that fear be well-founded.

The applicant claimed that some of the Kirbati islands are disappearing due to climate change and sea-level rise, and the future of the country is disappearing due to climate change. The applicant claimed that the main livelihood is ruined and destroyed on the islands, as well as the freshwater supply. The Court found that the continued production of carbon emissions that cause climate change is not sufficient to constitute persecution under the Refugee Convention in a decision issued on December 10, 2009 as there was no evidence that the persecution the applicant was fearing was occurring because of his membership to any particular group.
Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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