Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Politics and Government: Political Science

First Advisor

Mike Hendricks


Human rights-based approaches are highly useful for a myriad of issues facing the international community. However, they have yet to be utilized in practice due to norms in the international community that favor sovereignty over human rights and international cooperation. This thesis will demonstrate the utility of such approaches by applying one to the issue of climate refugees. It is estimated that by the year 2050, hundreds of millions of people around the globe will become displaced due to climate change. Because climate-related reasons are not included in the criteria for what makes one a refugee, these people will not be recognized as refugees and thus not be eligible for the same assistance and protection that other refugees are eligible for. Additionally, the current refugee regime is riddled with issues that hinder its ability to provide aid for those that seek its assistance. This thesis therefore seeks to address the question of whether a human rights-based approach would provide more just outcomes for climate refugees. One main focus of rights-based approaches is accountability. By centering the international response to the situation of climate refugees on accountability, fewer people will become displaced in the future and those who are affected by climate change will have a means to demand that their human rights be fulfilled. This thesis will utilize a counterfactual study comparing the current refugee regime with that of a theoretical human rights-based approach to the issue of climate refugees. It finds that a rights-based approach would produce more just outcomes for all actors involved. Inferences from this may be made with regard to refugee policy as well as human rights policy.


Imported from Robinson_ilstu_0092N_11894.pdf


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