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Disputation: Isabel Mota Borges

Isabel Mota Borges will be defending the thesis: International Law and Environmental Displacement: Towards a New Human Rights-Based Protection Paradigm for the degree of Ph.D.

Trial lecture - time and place

August 16, 2016 10:15 AM - 11:00 AM, Gamle festal, 1. etg. Urbygningen    

Adjudication committee

Chair of defence

 Director Inga Bostad



This thesis explores the increasing concern over the extent to which those suffering from forced (or potential) cross-border displacement as a result of environmental change are protected under international law, in particular human rights law.

Formally, they are not entitled to admission or to stay in a third state country. This has been identified as an international “legal protection gap” that displaces people and impacts upon their human rights. The study seeks to provide adequate answers to two basic questions:

1) whether and to what extent existing international law protects cross-border environmental displacement? and

2) whether and how existing formalised regional complementary protection standards can interpretively solidify and (re)conceptualise protection for cross-border environmental displacement?

The discussion outlines that the protection of the human person is not only an ex post facto obligation of states, but must be increasingly seen as an ex ante one.

The analysis further suggests that the European Union’s regionally orientated protection regime can help states to consolidate an evolving protection paradigm of proactive and reactive measures being erected at the international level for environmental cross-border displacement and narrow the identified legal protection gaps. In other words, it helps states to (re)conceptualise protection as a holistic and dynamic enterprise.


Published Aug. 2, 2016 11:43 AM - Last modified Jan. 20, 2020 2:07 PM