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Harvard, Yale, and University Network for Human Rights Legal Experts Call on Biden Administration to Aid Climate Refugees

Harvard, Yale, and University Network for Human Rights Legal Experts Call on Biden Administration to Aid Climate Refugees

Human rights experts from Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, and the University Network for Human Rights published a white paper calling on the Biden administration to aid refugees escaping the effects of climate change in Central America on Thursday.

The white paper focuses on the Northern Triangle — a region consisting of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — and the “large-scale migration” of civilians fleeing the impacts of a deteriorating environment.

Thomas B. Becker, an attorney at the University Network for Human Rights and a co-author of the report, said many legal experts decided to work together on the white paper because of the “interesting intersection” between immigration, asylum, and human rights law.

“This is more than environmentalism, this is more than just human rights, this is more than migration — all these things are intertwined,” Becker said. “When you compartmentalize them, you can’t have a holistic approach to addressing the problem, and this is why we had folks from across different disciplines involved in this.”

Deborah E. Anker, the co-founder and director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, said the report was written because the increase of climate change refugees was an “urgent problem” and “urgent challenge” that the United States helped create.

“The Northern Triangle has been in trouble for over a decade, for decades really, but it’s been intensified,” Anker said. “The U.S. historically has had a significant role in destabilizing countries and governments in that region, and we have a huge impact on climate change as well.”

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