Research Handbook on Disasters and International Law
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Research Handbook on Disasters and International Law

Edited by Susan C. Breau and Katja L.H. Samuel

International law’s role in governing disasters is undergoing a formative period in its development and reach, in parallel with concerted efforts by the international community to respond more effectively to the increasing number and intensity of disasters across the world. This Research Handbook examines a broad range of legal regimes directly and indirectly relevant to disaster prevention, mitigation and reconstruction across a spectrum of natural and manmade disasters, including armed conflict.
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Chapter 17: Displacement in the context of disasters and adverse effects of climate change

Walter Kälin and Hannah Entwisle Chapuisat


People displaced in the context of disasters associated with natural hazards and the impacts of climate change have specific protection and assistance needs that have only recently been recognised by legal scholars, human rights mechanisms and the broader international community. While existing international legal frameworks address some of the needs of disaster-displaced persons, particularly those displaced within their own countries, such frameworks are rarely implemented in practice, or, such as in the case of international human rights law, have not been explicitly applied to disaster displacement contexts. Legal gaps are particularly acute with respect to cross-border disaster displacement and what standards should guide admission, rights during stay and finding a lasting solution in such situations, although examples of effective practices related to such situations have been identified. Progress in recent years at the international and regional levels to address the protection and assistance needs of disaster-displaced persons, particularly in the context of the Nansen Initiative process, has helped lay the foundation for the creation of a more comprehensive legal framework for disaster-displaced persons in the future.

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