Journal of Human Rights and the Environment

A landslide on a mudslide? Natural hazards and the right to life under the European Convention on Human Rights

Kristian Cedervall Lauta * * and Jens Elo Rytter *

Keywords: natural disasters, human rights law, Budayeva, state protection, right to life, natural hazards, industrial hazards


This paper investigates the protection of individuals’ lives against natural hazards under the European Convention on Human Rights. In 2008, the European Court of Human Rights decided to include natural hazards in a well-established doctrine developed to protect individuals from life-threatening industrial hazards, while allowing States an especially broad margin of appreciation with regard to natural hazards. Drawing on contemporary disaster theory, the article examines whether and to what extent the Court's distinction between natural and industrial hazards can be maintained. The article proposes an ‘all hazards’ approach to the protection of the right to life under Article 2 of the Convention.

Author Notes

The paper is published as part of the University of Copenhagen 2016 excellence programme for interdisciplinary research project Changing Disasters. For correspondence:

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