Blogposts by Eduardo Valencia-Ospina

Eduardo Valencia-Ospina

Special Rapporteur on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters

4 December 2013

The ILC Work on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters

In the aftermath of a disaster, affected States need to address its material consequences. For this purpose, aid is normally forthcoming from other States, international organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations. In practice, however, this foreign aid is not always accepted. And even if external assistance is agreed to, as the Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) put it in 2000: ‘There is no definitive, broadly accepted source of international law which spells out legal standards, procedures, rights and duties pertaining to disaster response and assistance.  No systematic attempt has been made to put together the disparate threads of existing law, to formalize customary law or to expand and develop the law in new ways.’

In this ‘yawning gap’, as the IFRC labeled it, stepped the International Law Commission (ILC or Commision) in 2006 when, in fulfillment of its Charter and Statute mandate and on the proposal of the United Nations (UN) Secretariat it included the topic ‘Protection of persons in the event of disasters’ in its program of work. (more…)