In 2022, the jury for the RIAS/UCR “Sustainable Freedoms” Essay Competition unanimously chose Carmen van Arragon’s paper “Environmental and Juridical Disasters: A Legal Analysis of (Inter)national Protection of Environmental Refugees” as the winner. The prize was presented at the RIAS conference on Environmental History on 13 October, 2022. 

The jury especially appreciated how her paper focuses on the increasingly relevant legal category of environmental (or climate change) refugees. It shows how international law still has to catch up with our climate emergency – in regard to both environmental degradation and the forced displacement of people – and it brings up two specific case studies (in New Zealand) in which national courts have had to face this new category of judicial claims/challenges. Her research paper beautifully combines issues related to human rights with issues related to environmental challenges – precisely what this prize seeks to reward and stimulate more of.

Carmen van Arragon’s research paper is available to read here.