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School of Law

Climate Change, Colonisation and Migration

5 June 2019 - 22 May 2019

Time: 12:00 - 2:00pm
Venue: Room 313, Floor 3, School of Law, Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS

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The International State Crime Initiative and The School of Law, Queen Mary University of London is delighted host a lunch time event on Climate Change, Colonisation and Migration with Professor Lizzy Stanley, Victoria University of Wellington.


With a focus on Pacific states, this seminar explores how advanced liberal democracies respond to climate migrants in ways that reflect colonial logics and practices. In particular, it shows how those most victimized through global climate changes are misrepresented and treated in disparaging ways. The paper reflects on three constructions of climate migrants, as: (i) savages – those incapable of adapting or thriving under catastrophic environmental threats and who need to be saved by ‘the West’; (ii) threats – the hordes who threaten white civilization and who must be sorted, excluded and detained; (iii) ‘non-ideal’ victims – those undeserving of legal protections, who may survive under hostile conditions in ‘receiving’ states or choose to leave. These political and policy responses create systemic harms and injustice for those who must flee environmental degradation, and function to ensure that those most to blame are prioritised as having least responsibility to take action. The seminar concludes with consideration of decolonizing responses to those most affected from anthropogenic climate harms.

Speaker Bio

Elizabeth Stanley is a Professor in Criminology at the Institute of Criminology, Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. Her research focuses on state crimes, human rights, incarceration and social justice. Her publications include ‘Torture, Truth and Justice’ (Routledge), ‘State Crime and Resistance’ (edited with Jude McCulloch, Routledge), ‘The Road to Hell: State Violence against Children in Post War NZ’ (Auckland University Press) and ‘Human Rights and Incarceration’ (edited, Palgrave).


For directions to the venue, please refer to the map.


For more information on this event, please email

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