What Possibilities and Obstacles Does International Law Present for Preserving the Sovereignty of Island States?

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According to the Montevideo Convention on Rights and Duties of States, among other criteria, a state must possess a defined territory. This paper considers how the scope of international law addresses the issue of threatened sovereignty of island states, which may soon no longer possess territory as a result of rising sea levels due to climate change. The situation in Tuvalu, the Maldives, and Kiribati is considered as three of the many islands dealing with the effects of climate change. This paper finds that the current state of the art of international environmental law and human rights law has limited utility in protecting these states’ sovereignty. Artificial islands, land acquisition, and individual or collective resettlement are discussed as possible ways forward.

What Possibilities and Obstacles Does International Law Present for Preserving the Sovereignty of Island States?

in Tilburg Law Review

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