IASC Operational Guidelines on the Protection of Persons in Situations of Natural Disasters

Translations are available in Bahasa Indonesian, Bengali, French, Hindi, KyrgyzRussian, Spanish and Japanese (please note these translations are not formal IASC publications).

Natural disasters are traditionally seen as situations creating challenges mainly related to the provision of humanitarian assistance. Less attention has been devoted to the need for human rights protection in this particular context. Continue Reading ›


Part I: Introduction

Part II: General Principles

Part II A: Protection of Life; Security and Physical Integrity of the Person; and Family Ties

Part II B: Protection of Rights Related to the Provision of Food; Health; Shelter; and Education

Part II C: Protection of Rights Related to Housing; Land and Property; Livelihoods and Secondard and Higher Education

Part II D: Protection of Rights Related to Documentation; Movement; Re-Establishment of Family Ties; Expression and Opinion; And Elections

Annex I, II, III

In particular, the tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes, which hit parts of Asia and the Americas in 2004 and 2005, as well as the Haiti earthquake of 2010, highlighted the fact that affected persons may face multiple human rights challenges in the aftermath of natural disasters, such as:

  • Lack of safety and security (e.g. rampant crime, secondary impacts of natural disasters, etc.);
  • Gender-based violence;
  • Unequal access to assistance, basic goods and services and discrimination in aid provision;
  • Abuse, neglect and exploitation of children;
  • Family separation, particularly for children, older persons, persons with disabilities and other individuals who may rely on family support for their survival;
  • Loss/destruction of personal documentation and difficulties to replace it, in particular due to inadequate birth registration mechanisms;
  • Inadequate law enforcement mechanisms and restricted access to a fair and efficient justice system;
  • Lack of effective feedback and complaint mechanisms;
  • Unequal access to employment and livelihood opportunities;
  • Forced relocation;
  • Unsafe or involuntary return or resettlement of persons displaced by the disaster; or
  • Lack of property restitution and access to land.

This is a revised version of the 2006 IASC Operational Guidelines on Human Rights and Natural Disasters. To request a hard copy, please contact the Project at idp@brookings.edu.

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