IASC Operational Guidelines on the Protection of Persons in Situations of Natural Disasters
January 2011

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.

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