Non-Refoulement: A Human Rights Perspective on Environmental Migration from Small Island Developing States

Climate change already drives hundreds of thousands to migrate from near-uninhabitable conditions in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). However, when international borders are crossed, environmental migrants fleeing the adverse effects of climate change are not yet automatically afforded legal protection under international law. The international law principle of non-refoulement offers a pathway to fill this legal protection gap for environmental migrants, but only if threshold requirements are met on a case-by-case basis. Importantly, the principle of the best interests of the child further offers a potential pathway to provide protection to migrant children affected by climate change. Image: © IOM 2015

April 13, 2022


Environmental degradation and natural disasters are among the most significant contemporary drivers of global migration.[i] Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are particularly vulnerable to these adverse impacts of climate change.[ii] Environmental disasters in the Pacific region displaced 320,000 people between 2008 and 2017, and rising sea levels have completely submerged some islands, affecting potable water supplies and forcing entire villages to relocate to higher ground.[iii] The International Organization for Migration estimates that three million residents of low-lying coastal areas are at further risk of displacement.[iv]

The number of environmental migrants crossing international borders will continue to grow as environmental conditions deteriorate. Despite these dire and sometimes life-threatening conditions, persons fleeing the adverse effects of climate change are not yet afforded automatic legal protection under international law. 

However, recent jurisprudence and academic developments have established that severe environmental conditions can amount to a violation of one’s right to life. In such cases, the principle of non-refoulement may offer a pathway of protection for environmental migrants under the human rights law framework.[v] Thus, the increasingly severe environmental conditions in SIDS might trigger non-refoulement obligations in future migration cases.

Refugees or Migrants?

While some may use the phrase “climate refugees” to describe persons fleeing the effects of climate change, these persons on the move are considered “environmental migrants.”[vi] Under international law, persons crossing international borders fleeing environmental degradation generally do not qualify as refugees, as they do not meet the persecution criteria in the definition of “refugee” under the 1951 Refugee Convention.[vii] 

The International Organization for Migration defines environmental migrants as:

Persons or groups of persons who, predominantly for reasons of sudden or progressive changes in the environment that adversely affect their lives or living conditions, are obliged to leave their homes, or choose to do so, either temporarily or permanently, and who move either within their country or abroad.[viii]

Non-refoulement as a Pathway for Legal Protection

The principle of non-refoulement, under the 1951 Refugee Convention, prohibits states receiving refugees from returning them to a territory where their life or freedom may be unlawfully threatened.[ix] Non-refoulement, now considered customary international law, has since been expanded to provide protection to persons on the move beyond just those who fall under the definition of refugee. Non-refoulement also covers any persons who, upon return or deportation, may face irreparable harm, such as torture or violations of their right to life.[x]

Teitiota v. New Zealand, the first climate change-induced environmental migration case brought to the Human Rights Committee, offers valuable insights into the standards that must be met for non-refoulement obligations to be triggered under international human rights law.

The Teitiota v. New Zealand case

Ioane Teitiota, a Kiribati national, moved to New Zealand in 2007. When Teitiota’s visa expired in 2011, he applied for refugee status in New Zealand, claiming that environmental conditions in Kiribati posed a threat to his right to life. New Zealand’s Immigration and Protection Tribunal denied the refugee claim in 2013, noting that he did not meet the definition of a refugee.[xi]

Teitiota appealed the Tribunal’s decision to the Supreme Court, and after exhausting all domestic remedies, he brought his case to the Human Rights Committee, the UN body that adjudicates on alleged violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Teitiota asserted that by returning him to Kiribati, New Zealand violated his right to life and thus implied New Zealand violated the principle of non-refoulement.[xii]

In its deliberations, the Human Rights Committee cited ICCPR General Comment no. 36, noting that non-refoulement cases require substantial grounds to establish that 1) a real risk of irreparable harm exists; 2) the risk faced is personal and cannot derive merely from the general conditions; except in 3) the most extreme cases.[xiii] The Committee decided that, while grim, the environmental conditions in Kiribati did not pose an imminent personal risk to Teitiota’s life, and agreed with the Tribunal in that “the risk remained firmly in the realm of conjecture or surmise.”[xiv]

The Committee determined that: 1) Kiribati upheld its positive obligations under the right to life, as it implemented adequate programmatic interventions; 2) Teitiota and his family were not at imminent risk of violence caused by land disputes; 3) Kiribati still had 10 to 15 years before the country would be rendered uninhabitable; 4) Teitiota could sufficiently find potable water and grow crops; and 5) Teitiota did not face a personal risk of harm, as his situation, including limited access to water, was not materially different from other residents of Kiribati.[xv]

The factors that were considered by the Committee are stepping stones for future cases of a similar nature, especially as climate-induced environmental degradation continues. To justify non-refoulement, the evidence must sufficiently prove a severe violation of human rights.[xvi]

Non-Refoulement: The Standards of Proof

A State’s Positive Obligation to Protect

The Human Rights Committee’s decision in Teitiota v. New Zealand gained worldwide attention because it marked the first time an international human rights body recognized the link between severe climate change-induced environmental conditions and the potential violation of the right to life, in the context of non-refoulement and migration.

To protect the right to life, states have a duty to take appropriate measures to address the general conditions in society that may give rise to direct threats to life.[xvii] Human rights jurisprudence has reinforced states’ positive obligation to protect citizens from environmental harms, determining that a positive obligation can entail: enacting appropriate legislation to reduce potential harms from environmental disasters or degradation, implementing early warning mechanisms, adaptation frameworks, or risk mitigation efforts.[xviii]

In Teitiota v. New Zealand, the Committee concluded that the Government of Kiribati’s National Adaptation Programme of Action, which aimed to improve water supply management, implement coastal management protections, and introduce population settlement planning, was evidence enough that the state had not failed its obligations and did not violate Teitiota’s right to life.[xix]

The Committee acknowledged, however, that without “robust national and international efforts” the environmental conditions in Kiribati could foreseeably violate the right to life and trigger non-refoulement obligations. The Committee concluded that given Kiribati’s existing interventions, and the 10 to 15-year window to introduce further interventions, conditions in Kiribati did not yet trigger such obligations.[xx] 

Existence of Exceptional Circumstances

In non-refoulement cases involving climate change-induced environmental degradation, it is far more difficult to establish that the potential harm faced is “personal” compared to other non-refoulement contexts, as the effects of climate change are often widespread and indiscriminate.[xxi]

However, the New Zealand Supreme Court and the Human Rights Committee have both established that the “personal risk” requirement is not necessary to trigger non-refoulement in extreme or exceptional circumstances.[xxii] McAdam contributes to this discussion, arguing:

Just as in cases of generalized violence it is wrong in principle to limit the concept of ‘persecution’ to measures immediately identifiable as direct and individual… the relevant question [in the cases of the indiscriminate impacts of climate change] is whether the applicant faces a real risk of serious harm if removed, not whether the applicant is at greater risk than others.[xxiii]

In the 2014 deportation case involving migrants from Tuvalu, AD (Tuvalu), New Zealand’s Immigration Tribunal considered conditions—both environmental and personal—and found that the conditions met the qualification of “exceptional circumstances” when weighed cumulatively.[xxiv] While the Tribunal found it unnecessary to assess whether environmental conditions alone met the “exceptional circumstances” test, it noted that the primary issue for determination was whether the factors, alone or in combination, pass this test.[xxv]

In many occasions, a single condition may not be sufficient to demonstrate imminent harm in environmental migration cases. However, when considered in combination, additional life-threatening environmental conditions present an extreme situation that is more likely to result in loss of life.[xxvi] In Kiribati, lack of clean water sources, rising sea levels, increased flooding, and the inability to practice subsistence farming are reasons why Committee member Duncan Laki Muhumuza wrote in his dissenting opinion: “New Zealand’s action is more like forcing a drowning person back into a sinking vessel, with the ‘justification’ that after all there are other voyagers on board.”[xxvii]

Considering the dire situation SIDS face, these conditions, cumulatively or in combination, could qualify as “extreme” or “exceptional” circumstances, which could provide a basis for non-refoulement protection without needing to meet an unreasonably high personal risk test. 

Establishing Imminence of Potential Harm

Climate change poses another unique challenge to states regarding non-refoulement obligations. This is due to the difficulty in determining the point at which general environmental conditions constitute a threat to a person’s right to life. Non-refoulement cases require substantial grounds to establish that a real risk of irreparable harm exists, with imminence of any anticipated harm influencing this assessment.[xxviii]

Anderson et al. note that the concept of imminence, when considering the potential for harm, has often been interpreted by courts as having a temporal element: where harm is only imminent if it is in the near future. They frame this interpretation of imminence as mistaken and suggest that it may result in legal error due to the dearth of analysis on the role of time in assessing risk.[xxix] 

Anderson et al. note that the Tribunal in Teitiota v. New Zealand partially justified its decision to deport Teitiota because Kiribati had initiated mitigation measures that had the potential to reduce the risk posed by climate change.[xxx] They cite the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ guideline related to armed conflict and violence, stating that “the possibility of multiple potential outcomes does not automatically overcome the need for international protection, particularly when the trajectory of harm is moving in a clear direction.”[xxxi] 

While the Committee assessed that sea level rise is likely to render Kiribati uninhabitable within 10 to 15 years, Committee member Vasilka Sancin noted in her dissenting opinion that Kiribati’s planned mitigation measures were years behind schedule.[xxxii] This challenges the Committee’s assessment that Kiribati’s adaptation plan prevented Teitiota from claiming the dangers of climate change as imminent.

Furthermore, establishing a high threshold to determine whether a threat to the right to life exists implies allowing an “acceptable” level of death or irreparable harm. That any person should suffer or die to prove the deadly and imminent threat Kiribati’s environmental conditions pose is antithetical to the right to life and non-refoulement. In his dissent to Teitiota v. New Zealand, Muhumuza recalls that such an unreasonably high burden of proof is unnecessary, as threats to the right to life need not result in death.[xxxiii] Muhumuza suggests that the deteriorating conditions pose an imminent and foreseeable risk to the life of the people of Kiribati.[xxxiv] Listing the environmental conditions together, Muhumuza demonstrates that their combined severity creates conditions so perilous that life would be jeopardized.

The Best Interests of the Child

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)—the most widely ratified international human rights treaty—enshrines the principle of the “best interests of the child.”[xxxv] Simply put, this principle obligates states to set the well-being of the child as a primary consideration in decisions or actions that concern children.[xxxvi]

Teitiota v. New Zealand reveals a missed opportunity to reference and protect the rights of the child in an environmental context. AD (Tuvalu), however, demonstrates how using the principle of “the best interests of the child” can meet, and may even lower the threshold for meeting, the necessary standards of proof to trigger non-refoulement.

For future environmental cases involving migrant children and non-refoulement, McAdam points to the decision of the Scottish Inner House, where the court said: “Best interests [of the child] are not merely relevant. They are given a hierarchical importance… they are not just something to be taken into account but something to be afforded a grander status….”[xxxvii]

A State’s Positive Obligation to Protect the Child

The CRC sets out positive obligations for state parties to fulfill the rights set out in the convention. Article 6 establishes that states have an obligation to ensure the survival, growth, and development of the child.[xxxviii] Article 24 articulates the rights of the child to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health, and that states have the obligation to implement appropriate measures in this regard.[xxxix]

The CRC Committee has elaborated that under the CRC, states are required to adopt appropriate legislative measures, including services, programs, infrastructure, and informed interventions to realize children’s right to health.[xl] The Committee further draws the connection between children and the environment, clarifying that in addition to addressing pollution, environmental interventions should have children’s health concerns at the center of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.[xli]

As Sancin demonstrates, the mere existence of mitigation plans does not guarantee their timely completion.[xlii] To adequately judge whether such efforts diminish imminence, it requires decision-making bodies of the deporting state to assess the progress and implementation of such plans in the country of origin. General Comment no 6. articulates that the best interests of the child must be applied concerning non-refoulement, where a child’s return would result in the violation of their fundamental human rights, including if there is a risk of insufficient provision of food or health services.

Critically, General Comment no 6. declares that this applies irrespective of whether serious violations originate from state action or inaction, or are the indirect consequence of action or inaction.[xliii]  Thus, conducting thorough and informed assessments of the context to which persons may be returned is even more pertinent when it pertains to children, and it is part of the duties of states vis-à-vis their non-refoulement obligations.

The Rights of the Child and Exceptional Circumstances

In non-refoulement cases, determinations on the best interests of the child are not based on single overriding factors, but involve taking into account multiple elements. This can include the child’s own views, the child’s health, exposure to vulnerability, and the issue of maintaining family unity. Then, relevance and weight are accorded to each element.[xliv]

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ best interests procedure guidelines set evaluation criteria for determining whether a child's risk requires best interests considerations. It notes that both vulnerabilities and risks must be evaluated: vulnerability is defined as factors that increase the susceptibility to difficulties and hazards that put children at risk of suffering and death; and, risk is defined as the likelihood that a hazard will happen.[xlv] While applied to refugee children in a persecutory context, these criteria are measurements of outcomes that could be reproduced by environmental degradation and displacement thereof.

In AD (Tuvalu), the New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal considered the impact of removing the family, including the children, from their relatives in New Zealand, a right articulated in Article 9 of the CRC. The Tribunal stated, “the best interests of the children clearly are to remain living with their parents in New Zealand as part of an extended family group,”[xlvi] and further noted that their young age made them especially vulnerable and at-risk to the environmental conditions in Tuvalu.[xlvii]

The Tribunal assessed its decision around the harm that removal would create for the petitioner’s children, noting that deporting the petitioners from New Zealand and separating them from their family would meet the “exceptional circumstances” test, making deportation unduly harsh.[xlviii] In future non-refoulement cases involving environmental migrant children, the best interests of the child will likely be weighed based on the risks and vulnerabilities that environmental conditions create for children.

Imminence of Potential Harm and the Child

The CRC Committee has articulated that “States shall not reject a child at a border or return him or her to a country where there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she is at real risk of irreparable harm.…”[xlix] The threshold for determining irreparable harm and imminence of harm is lower for children than it is for adults. For example, children require more food and water per unit of body weight than adults, which means that the lack of access to nutritious food and fresh water—an increasing reality in SIDS as agricultural and freshwater conditions deteriorate—pose more of a risk of irreparable harm to children, especially for their growth and development.[l] Children are also more vulnerable to disease and health conditions, especially those exacerbated by environmental conditions. The aftermath of climate-related floods has also been seen to increase cholera and incidents of diarrhea, which can be deadly to children.[li] 

In Teitiota v. New Zealand, Teitiota brought evidence that his child suffered a serious case of blood poisoning. Teitiota also cited stories of children in Kiribati dying from diarrhea caused by poor quality drinking water.[lii] However, the Human Rights Committee focused on the question of whether New Zealand violated Ioane Teitiota’s rights alone. Limited by this question, the Committee did not include “best interests of the child” considerations in its decision.

Nevertheless, the dissenting Committee members recorded the potential effects of environmental conditions on Teitiota’s children in their opinions. Muhumuza argues that the fact that one of Teitiota’s children already suffered severe health problems due to the environmental conditions in Kiribati should have been sufficient evidence to meet the threshold of harms faced;[liii] and Sancin mentions Teitiota’s children in reference to the family’s access to safe drinking water.[liv]

The dissenting opinions point to the children’s rights as a significant reason to allow Teitiota and his family to remain in New Zealand, suggesting that if Teitiota’s petition had included the rights of his children, the courts may have ruled more favorably for the Teitiota family. This is critical for future cases of a similar nature: Future non-refoulement petitions that include children in the environmental context, may not need to meet such a high burden of proof to trigger a states’ non-refoulement obligations.

Moving Forward

The precedents in the above cases involving Small Island Developing States offer a path forward: Environmental conditions, alone or in combination, can meet the requisite standards to trigger a state’s non-refoulement obligations vis-à-vis providing protection for environmental migrants.

To meet these standards, a variety of criteria must be assessed, including the state’s mitigation measures, the imminence of potential harms, and the best interests of the child. Of particular importance is weighing the effectiveness of a states’ intervening measures in mitigating the imminent risks and impacts of climate change-induced environmental degradation.

While it is difficult to determine how the effects of climate change meet the personal risk test, conditions can be considered cumulatively, or in combination, to meet the “extreme or exceptional circumstances” test instead. Applied on a case-by-case basis, the principle of non-refoulement and human rights law can be used in the short-term to fill the current protection gap that exists for environmental migrants and their rights, and even to a greater extent for migrant children.

The authors are graduates from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). This article draws on research conducted for a consulting project on behalf of the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s International Migration Law Unit. The project produced a training manual on this emerging topic. The authors give special thanks to advisors Gianna Sanchez and Ben Fleming for their support.

Shaindl Keshen (MIA ’21) currently works at UNICEF. At SIPA she studied humanitarian affairs policy, focusing on international human rights law, humanitarian law, and migration. She has previously worked with First Nations communities in Canada to advocate for Indigenous peoples’ rights. 

Steven Lazickas (MPA '21) studied Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy, specifically the intersection of human rights, large-scale emergencies, and climate change. He is a writer, policy professional, and organizer dedicated to environmental justice, racial reconciliation, and workers’ rights.

[i] It is estimated that between 2008 and 2016, 228 million people were displaced due to environmental disasters, and 24.9 million in 2019 alone. Rep. Global Report on Internal Displacement. Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 2017.

[ii]  Rep. Climate Mobility and Children: A Virtual Symposium. UNICEF, n.d.; UNFCCC. “Climate Change, Small Island Developing States.” Bonn, Germany: Climate Change Secretariat, 2005,

[iii] International Organization for Migration. “Climate Change and Migration in Vulnerable Countries.” Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Migration, 2019, 25

[iv] “Five Pacific Islands Lost to Rising Seas as Climate Change Hits,” The Guardian, May 10, 2016,; International Organization for Migration. “Climate Change and Migration in Vulnerable Countries.” Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Migration, 2019, 23-25.

[v] Ioane Teitiota v. The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, [2015] NZSC 107, New Zealand: Supreme Court, 20 July 2015, available at:,NZL_SC,55c8675d4.html; Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand (advance unedited version), CCPR/C/127/D/2728/2016, UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), 7 January 2020, available at:,HRC,5e26f7134.html.

[vi] International Organization for Migration, “Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP),” (Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Migration, 2014), 13,; “Differentiation between Migrants and Refugees.” Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. OHCHR. Accessed February 9, 2022.  

[vii] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), “Session 3 Manual Annex 2,” UNHCR Protection Training Manual for European Border and Entry Officials (Brussels: UNHCR Bureau for Europe, April 1, 2011),; which defines refugee as persons who have crossed an international border and who, owing to a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, are unable or unwilling to return to their habitual residence.

[viii] International Organization for Migration, “Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP),” (Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Migration, 2014), 13,

[ix] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, “Non-Refoulement and the Scope of Its Application,” Non-Refoulement and the Scope of Its Application (Geneva, Switzerland: UNHCR, January 26, 2007),, 2.

[x] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, “The Principle of Non-Refoulement under International Human Rights Law,” United Nations Human Rights (Geneva, Switzerland: OHCHR), accessed February 2, 2022,; UN General Assembly, Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 10 December 1984, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1465, p. 85, available at:, article 3.

[xi] Kenneth Weiss, “The Making of a Climate Refugee,” Foreign Policy, January 28, 2015,

[xii] Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand (advance unedited version), CCPR/C/127/D/2728/2016, UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), 7 January 2020, available at:,HRC,5e26f7134.html.

[xiii] UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), General comment no. 36, Article 6 (Right to Life), 3 September 2019, CCPR/C/GC/35, available at:, para 30; Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand, para 9.6.

[xiv] Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand, para 4.6.

[xv] Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand, para 9.6.

[xvi] UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), General comment no. 36, Article 6 (Right to Life), 3 September 2019, CCPR/C/GC/35, available at:, para 31.

[xvii] UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), General comment no. 36, Article 6 (Right to Life), 3 September 2019, CCPR/C/GC/35, available at:, para 26.

[xviii] CASE OF B.U. AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA, Council of Europe: European Court of Human Rights, 22 January 2019, available at:,ECHR,5c615b5a4.html;  

Oneryildiz v. Turkey, Council of Europe: European Court of Human Rights, 18 June 2002, available at:,ECHR,3f2650b54.html.

[xix] Environment and Conservation Division of the Republic of Kiribati, National Adaptation Program of Action § (2007).; Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand, para 9.12.

[xx] Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand, paras 9.11, 9.10.

[xxi]  McAdam, Jane. Climate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, 44. Although, environmental conditions or related discriminatory government policies that target or disproportionately affect marginalized groups or individuals could feasibly meet the ‘personal risk’ threshold in very specific circumstances.

[xxii] Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand, paras 2.10, 9.11.

[xxiii] McAdam, Jane. “Climate Change Displacement and International Law: Complementary Protection Standards.” Legal and Protection Policy Research Series. UNHCR, May 2011., 53.

[xxiv] AD (Tuvalu), [2014] NZIPT 501370-371, New Zealand: Immigration and Protection Tribunal, 4 June 2014, available at:,NZ_IPT,585152d14.html, para 30.

[xxv] AD (Tuvalu), para 2.

[xxvi] McAdam, Jane. Climate Change Displacement and International Law: Side Event to the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges 8 December 2010, Palais des Nations, Geneva,, 2.

[xxvii] Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand, Annex 2, para 6.

[xxviii] Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand, 8 (para 8.5).

[xxix] Anderson, Adrienne, Michelle Foster, Helene Lambert, and Jane McAdam. “Imminence in Refugee and Human Rights Law: A Misplaced Notion for International Protection.” ICLQ 68 (January 2019): 111–40., 113.

[xxx] Anderson, Adrienne, Michelle Foster, Helene Lambert, and Jane McAdam. “Imminence in Refugee and Human Rights Law: A Misplaced Notion for International Protection.” ICLQ 68 (January 2019): 111–40., 133.

[xxxi] Anderson, Adrienne, Michelle Foster, Helene Lambert, and Jane McAdam. “Imminence in Refugee and Human Rights Law: A Misplaced Notion for International Protection.” ICLQ 68 (January 2019): 111–40., 133.

[xxxii] Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand, Annex 1, para 5.

[xxxiii] Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand, Annex 2, para 5.

[xxxiv] Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand Annex 2, para 1.

[xxxv] United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 3.

[xxxvi] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), General comment No. 14 (2013) on the right of the child to have his or her best interests taken as a primary consideration (art. 3, para. 1), 29 May 2013, CRC /C/GC/14, available at:, 10 (para 36).

[xxxvii] McAdam, Jane. “Climate Change Displacement and International Law: Complementary Protection Standards.” Legal and Protection Policy Research Series. UNHCR, May 2011., 53.

[xxxviii] United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 6.

[xxxix] United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 24.

[xl] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), General comment No. 15 (2013) on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health (art. 24), 17 April 2013, CRC/C/GC/15, available at:, paras 13 and 32.

[xli] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), General comment No. 15 (2013) on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health (art. 24), 17 April 2013, CRC/C/GC/15, available at:, (para 50) 12.

[xlii] Teitiota v. New Zealand Annex 1, para 5.

[xliii] UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), General comment No. 6 (2005): Treatment of Unaccompanied and Separated Children Outside their Country of Origin, 1 September 2005, CRC/GC/2005/6, available at:, para 27.

[xliv] Nicholson, Frances. Tech. Legal and Protection Policy Research Series: The "Essential Right" to Family Unity of Refugees and Others in Need of International Protection in the Context of Family Reunification. UNHCR, January 2018., 187.

[xlv] 2021 UNHCR Best Interests Procedure Guidelines: Assessing and Determining the Best Interests of the Child. UNHCR, 2021., 71.

[xlvi] AD (Tuvalu), para 26.

[xlvii] AD (Tuvalu), para 25.

[xlviii] AD (Tuvalu), para 30.

[xlix] General Comment No. 22 (2017) of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the general principles regarding the human rights of children in the context of international migration, 16 November 2017, CMW/C/GC/3-CRC/C/GC/22, available at:, para 46.

[l] A Guide for Action: Are Climate Change Policies Child-Sensitive?. United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), May 2020., 9.

[li] Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General, “Analytical study on the relationship between climate change and the full and effective enjoyment of the rights of the child,” 4 May 2017,, 5 (para 16).

[lii] Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand, 7 (para 5) and 3 (para 2.6).

[liii] Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand, 16 (Annex 2 para 5).

[liv] Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand, 13 (Annex 1 para 3).