There is limited binding international law specifically covering the provision of humanitarian assistance in response to natural and human-made disasters. Yet a variety of authoritative soft law texts have been developed in the past 20 years, including the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the Red Cross Red Crescent Code of Conduct and the Sphere Project’s Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response. While such ‘non-binding normative standards’ do not carry the weight of international law, they play an essential role in the provision of humanitarian assistance albeit subject to their limited enforceability vis-à-vis intended beneficiaries and to their voluntary application by humanitarian actors. Notwithstanding a lack of legal compulsion, certain non-binding normative standards may directly influence the actions of States and non-State actors, and so obtain a strongly persuasive character. Analysis of texts that influence the practice of humanitarian assistance advances our understanding of humanitarian principles and performance standards for disaster response. As the International Law Commission debates draft articles on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters, such non-binding normative standards are crucial to the development of an internationally accepted legal framework to protect victims of disasters.

In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies
In: Yearbook of International Disaster Law Online
The Yearbook is also available online. To learn more about the online version, please click here.

The Yearbook of International Disaster Law aims to represent a hub for critical debate in this emerging area of research and policy and to foster the interest of academics, practitioners, stakeholders and policy-makers on legal and institutional issues relevant to all forms of natural, technological and human-made hazards. This Yearbook primarily addresses the international law dimension of relevant topics, alongside important regional and national dimensions relevant for further development of legal and policy initiatives.

Volume One features a thematic section on the Draft Articles of the ILC on the “Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters” as well as a general selection of articles, and an international and regional review of International Disaster Law in Practice, plus book reviews and bibliography.

The Yearbook is also available online. To learn more about the online version, please click here.
The Yearbook is also available online. To learn more about the online version, please click here.

The Yearbook of International Disaster Law aims to represent a hub for critical debate in this emerging area of research and policy and to foster the interest of academics, practitioners, stakeholders and policy-makers on legal and institutional issues relevant to all forms of natural, technological and human-made hazards. This Yearbook primarily addresses the international law dimension of relevant topics, alongside important regional and national dimensions relevant for further development of legal and policy initiatives.

Volume One features a thematic section on the Draft Articles of the ILC on the “Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters” as well as a general selection of articles, and an international and regional review of International Disaster Law in Practice, plus book reviews and bibliography.