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Irene Sacchetti

Law and Legal Studies, Nottingham Trent University

Thesis title:

Thinking Beyond Borders in the Kinocene: Decolonising the Climate 'Refugee' in International Law

My thesis invites to explore the gap in international law addressing the protection of climate ‘refugees’, those forced to flee their homelands because of the devastating impacts of climate change, with the aim of offering an alternative legal paradigm to grapple with future cross-border climate induced mobility due to slow onset climatic processes, such as sea level rise and desertification. In particular, my argument builds on the concept of the Kinocene, according to which the humans and the Earth system has always been mobile and migrant, therefore challenging Eurocentric logics rooted in sedentariness and immobility, to brings into light the colonial origin of climate change, migration and bordering practices. 

Research Area

  • Law and Legal Studies


  • 'Decolonising Binary Narratives on Climate (Im)Mobilities: a Human Rights and Community based Approach' (co-authored) Handbook on Climate Mobilities, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2024 forthcoming
  • 'Planetary Justice, Human Rights and the ECHR: Advancing Alternative Onto-Epistemologies to Face Climate-Related Challenges' European Yearbook of Human Rights, Intersentia Publishing, 2023 forthcoming
  • Comment on 'Daniel Billy et al v. Australia (Torres Strait Islanders case)', Earth Refuge Case Law Database, 2023 https://legal.earthrefuge.org/
  • 'La protezione dei rifugiati ambientali nel diritto internazionale attuale: il caso Teitiota contro Nuova Zelanda' in 'Crisi Ambientale e Migrazioni Forzate' Persecuzioni Climatiche 3rd E, S. Altiero and M. Marano (eds.), 2023 https://asud.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/crisi-ambientale-e-migrazioni-forzate-2023-WEB.pdf
  • 'Rethinking Cultural Heritage for the Anthropocene: Learning from Alternative Approaches to Move towards a Pluralist Conceptualisation' Celebrating 50 years of the WHC, VOL.1, E. Baroncini and B. Damarsin et al (eds.), 2023 https://cris.unibo.it/retrieve/95bbb8e2-c0b2-43be-9e0a-b4df1bc36756/forever%20young%20Introduction.pdf


  • Paper presentation on 'Rethinking Cultural Heritage for the Anthropocene: Learning from Alternative Approaches to Move towards a Pluralist Conceptualisation' at WHC@50 Round Table, University of Bologna (October 2022)
  • Paper presentation on 'Reconceptualising the 'climate refugee' in International Law' at 14th PhD Symposium, University College of Cork (April 2023)
  • Paper presentation 'Decolonising the 'climate refugee' in the Kinocene' at SMU-Sydney-HKU Law and Sustainability Annual Conference (July 2023) https://site.smu.edu.sg/smu-sydney-hku-law-sustainability-conference#programme
  • Paper presentation 'The climate refugee in international law: the kinocene and decolonial thinking' at SOAS PhD Colloquium (September 2023) https://www.soas.ac.uk/about/event/15th-annual-soas-law-phd-colloquium-2023-law-rights-and-decolonisation
  • Poster presentation for the 'Decolonisation and Racial Justice panel' at International Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Conference ‘The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 75: Rethinking and Constructing its Future Together’ (6-8 December 2023 - Ghent University, Belgium)
  • Attended the Annual UCC Law and the Environment Conference 2023 ' 'Environmental Law as Administrative Governance' (20 April 2023, Cork Ireland)
  • Attended the International School on Climate Migration 2023, SOAS and Earth Refuge (June-July 2023)

Other Research Interests

Rights of Nature, Rights of Animals, Decoloniality and International Law, Climate Justice, Co-creation of knowledge, alternative onto-epistemologies, Epistemic and Cognitive Justice.


  • Climate Justice Hub, Nottingham Law School
  • Decolonising Collective, Leiden University
  • The Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment
  • IUCN Early Career Specialist Group 'The future of Environmental Law' and 'Mentorship Programme'
  • IUCN Task Force on the Rights of Nature
  • Human Rights Pulse
  • University of Bologna Law Review