Accepting Assistance in the Aftermath of Disasters

Standards for States under International Law

By Stefanie Jansen-Wilhelm

Disasters have a devastating effect on the lives of people. The occurrence of a disaster can kill thousands in an instant, injure many others, damage homes, and destroy livelihoods. It is of essential importance that the response to a disaster is as effective and adequate as possible in order to limit and alleviate the suffering of disaster survivors. To this end, affected states can make use of offers of humanitarian assistance made by other states, international (humanitarian) organizations, and NGOs. However, in cases where the affected state refuses to accept international humanitarian assistance, the disaster survivors suffer the consequences. Within public international law there are no legally binding instruments dealing explicitly with the obligations of states in the aftermath of disasters. Rather, a variety of sources can be used as pieces of a puzzle determining to what extent states have an obligation to accept international humanitarian assistance. In the first part of this book, these pieces of the puzzle are put together to create a legal framework, explaining the steps an affected state must take in seeking and accepting humanitarian assistance. It becomes clear from the application of this framework that detail is lacking to make the framework of practical use. The needs which disaster survivors are usually deprived of (shelter, food, water, and access to basic healthcare) are laid down as human rights in the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The second part of the book uses this human rights instrument to concretize the legal framework, as such setting standards determining when an affected state must accept international humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of a disaster. (Series: School of Human Rights Research - Vol. 69) [Subject: International Law, Human Rights Law, Humanitarian Law]


Publication Date: 6/23/2015
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781780683294