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Protection and agency of vulnerable and marginalised persons in disaster prevention and management: A human rights based approach.

Project Description

It is widely acknowledged that disasters, such as devastating earthquakes, cyclones or tsunamis, disproportionality affect the already marginalised, and create negative cycles of marginalisation and poverty, as well as that such disasters are not the result of natural hazards, but rather of hazards in combination with human-made vulnerabilities (eg Wisner et al 2004; Kelman et al 2016). This understanding of ‘disaster’ is increasingly reflected in international law and policy, primarily through the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disaster (2016).
International human rights law is central to debates around the development of international law around disaster prevention and management (eg Hesselman and Cubie 2015; da Costa and Pospieszna 2015; Cederwall Lauta 2016; Aronsson-Storrier 2017; Giustiani et al 2018). Still, significant questions remain as to how human rights are to be interpreted and applied in this context, and with what consequence. This PhD project will examine the role of human rights law and institutions in reducing disaster losses, with a focus on vulnerable and marginalised persons (including, but not limited to, women; children; sexual and gender minorities; persons with disability; ethnic minorities; persons living in poverty; and displaced persons) and will critically explore the extent to which human rights can be used to address, as well as risk to exacerbate, inequality in the face of contemporary global challenges.

Funding Notes

The successful applicant would be expected to hold a Masters degree (or equivalent) in a socio-legal discipline at least at Merit level.

Students need to be self-funded, although the University does offer some regional bursaries.
More information can be found here: View Website.

Support is available for the candidate to apply for UKRC funding: View Website.


M Aronsson-Storrier and K da Costa, ‘Regulating Disasters? The Role of International Law in Disaster Prevention and Management’ (2017) 26(5) Disaster Prevention and Management 502
M Aronsson-Storrier, ‘Sanitation, Human Rights and Disaster Management’ (2017) 26(5) Disaster
Prevention and Management 502, available at https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/DPM-02-2017-0032
K Cedervall Lauta, ‘Human Rights and Natural Disasters’ in SC Breau and K Samuel (eds), Research Handbook on Disasters and International Law (Edward Elgar, 2016) 91
D Cubie and M Hesselman, ‘Accountability for the human rights implications of natural disasters: a proposal for systemic international oversight’, 33(1) Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights 9
K da Costa and P Pospieszna ‘The relationship between human rights and disaster risk reduction revisited: bringing the legal perspective into the discussion’ (2015) 6(1) Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies 64
F Giustiani et al (eds), Routledge Handbook on Human Rights and Disasters (Routledge, 2018)
ILC, Draft Articles on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters (adopted, on second reading, by the Drafting Committee) UN Doc. A/CN.4/L.871 (26 May 2016)
I Kelman, J Mercer and JC Gaillard, The Routledge handbook of disaster risk reduction including climate change adaptation (Routledge, 2016)
UN, ‘Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030’ (available at http://www.unisdr.org/we/coordinate/sendai-framework)
B Wisner et al, At risk: natural hazards, people's vulnerability, and disasters (Routledge, 2nd ed, 2004)

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