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Responsibility to Protect and the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters

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Chapter Summary

In 2006, the UN counted 227 natural disasters resulting in over 23000 deaths worldwide. The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami was one of the worst disasters of the last century. It manifested the shortcomings of the international reaction concerning international protection of persons in critical situations. Disasters like cyclone Nargis in 2008 or the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 exposed a range of problems relating to domestic and international response. The legal dimension depends on the severity of the humanitarian crises that the disaster has caused. The discussions about humanitarian interventions and the concept of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) seek to offer a solution in cases of massive human rights violations and the sovereignty claim of a State. The access to victims in disasters also involves conflicts with the sovereignty entitlements of the affected State because the respect for State sovereignty is a central principle applicable to relief actions.

Keywords: human rights violation; humanitarian intervention; international protection of person; natural disaster; Responsibility to Protect (R2P); state sovereignty; United Nations (UN)



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