States’ Failure to Take Preventive Action and to Reduce Exposure to Disasters as a Human Rights Issue
This chapter is aimed at identifying the implications of a human rights-based approach within the context of prevention and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), by taking into account the relevant case law as well as the solutions found in the ILC Draft Articles. If the essence of disasters is lack of preparation and social vulnerability in the first place, preventative action becomes a key element of disaster management. The doctrine of positive obligations in human rights law has contributed to clarifying that States have to take all reasonable measures to prevent a foreseeable breach of the rights of those within their jurisdiction. In addition to approving a legislative framework and establishing an administrative apparatus, States are required to use them with diligence. The ILC too has construed the obligation to reduce disasters as an obligation of conduct, subject to the due diligence standard: it follows that, in order to assess whether a State was negligent, an evaluation must be made on both its knowledge of the risk and on the use of ‘all available means’. Significantly, the 2015 Sendai Framework too establishes a fundamental link between DDR and the protection of human rights: the principles contained therein require that, in taking all the necessary measures to prevent and reduce disaster risk, States and all other stakeholders promote and protect all human rights.