In order to provide guidance on how to protect the rights of individuals affected by natural disasters, in June 2006, the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) adopted Operational Guidelines on Human Rights and Natural Disasters. These guidelines were needed because already existing guidelines on humanitarian action in emergencies, as well as standards for protecting human rights in armed conflict, did not deal specifically with human rights concerns emanating from natural disasters. The Guidelines are addressed to intergovernmental and non-governmental humanitarian actors. They focus on what humanitarian actors should do in order to implement a human rights-based approach to humanitarian action in the context of natural disasters. Complementing the Guidelines is this Manual, which provides the human rights background underpinning the Guidelines and lists practical operational steps to provide humanitarian workers with examples of how the Guidelines can best be implemented.
Introduction to the guidelines