These Operational Guidelines primarily aim to help international and non-governmental humanitarian organizations and members of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee to ensure that disaster relief and recovery efforts are conducted within a framework that protects and furthers human rights of affected persons.
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. These challenges could be mitigated or avoided altogether if the relevant human rights guarantees were taken into account by national and international actors, in all phases of the disaster response: preparedness, relief and recovery. A human rights-based approach provides the framework and necessary standards for humanitarian assistance activities. In addition, a protection perspective can bring a strategic dimension to humanitarian assistance programs, namely one of promoting and securing the fulfillment of human rights.