Banerjee and Shanthakumar 217
stand together to come out with a feasible solution for the future. It is seen that during this pandemic
several developed States, for example, Italy, the USA and the UK, had miserably failed to protect their
citizens from the coronavirus.5
In comparison, some states, for example, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea successfully executed their
plan to protect their people from the coronavirus.6 In the above scenarios, the world was blind to a small
group of vulnerable, climate refugees.7 Therefore, the authors believe that it is high time to propose a
feasible global legal action plan to handle any pandemic that may openly challenge the world so that the
rights of the climate refugees are not disregarded.
During this pandemic, when citizens’ right to health could not be well-protected from the effects of
mutation,8 it is hard to imagine the living standards in which the cross-border climate change migrants
are surviving.9 As per the data collected, the authors witnessed that these vulnerable people were unaware
that COVID-19 was the reason for them to fall ill.10
Moreover, during such times, the States have no obligation to protect the rights of the climate refugees
as they need to concentrate on the rights of their citizens, which has ultimately led to the States ignoring
the complex situation that the climate refugees are going through during this pandemic.11 The authors
feel that the climate refugees are victims of this situation as they are not legally recognized internationally
Additionally, as discussed above, the States prioritize their citizens during such times as there is an
immense shortage of healthcare facilities.13 During the first and second waves of the pandemic in India,
the healthcare department ran short of staff and medical equipment and was unaware of the proper
treatment for this illness.14
On the contrary, the world has faced various epidemics and pandemics over the years. Still, there is
no proper legal framework dealing directly with the rights of climate refugees during such a pandemic.
As the authors construe, once a pandemic pass, the problems faced have been conveniently forgotten
by the international community without finding a solution. Hence, looking into the sorrows and
sufferings of this ongoing pandemic,15 it is the right time for the International Community, along with
all the countries, to find a solution to this problem. So that in the future, if such a situation ever arises,
5 Dyani Lewis, Why Many Countries Failed at COVID Contact-Tracing—But Some Got It Right, 588 nature 384–387 (2020).
6 Id at 386.
7 Supra note 1.
8 Lori B. andrews, Jane e. FuLLarton, neiL a. hoLtzman & arno G. motuLsky, assessinG Genetic risks: impLications For
heaLth and sociaL poLicy (National Academies Press, 1999).
9 OECD. OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (OECD, 2011).
10 Roz Plater, 50 Percent of People with COVID-19 aren’t Aware They Have Virus Healthline, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/
health-news/50-percent-of-people-with-covid19-not-aware-have-virus (last accessed 9 February 2022).
11 Chiara Scissa, Recognition and Protection of Environmental Migrants in International Law E-International Relations, 2021,
https://www.e-ir.info/2021/06/24/recognition-and-protection-of-environmental-migrants-in-international-law/ (last accessed 9
12 Moushita Dutta, Legal Status for Climate Refugees: An International Law Concern, 2019, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.
cfm?abstract_id=3452415 (last accessed 8 February 2022).
13 Sumathi Bala, India’s COVID Crisis Exposes Deep-Rooted Problems in Public Health after Years of Neglect, CNBC, 2021,
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/18/india-covid-crisis-shows-public-health-neglect-problems-underinvestment.html (last accessed
8 February 2022).
14 Gerry Shih & Niha Masih, India’s Capital Hunkers Down as Coronavirus Cases Surge and Hospitals Face Staffing Shortages,
the washinGton post, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/01/11/india-covid-doctors-shortage/ (last accessed 9
15 Kirsten Weir, Grief and COVID-19: Mourning Our Bygone Lives, American Psychological Association, 2020, https://www.apa.
org/news/apa/2020/grief-covid-19 (last accessed 9 February 2022).