Mainstreaming Children's Rights in Post-Disaster Settings
30 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2012 Last revised: 7 May 2012
Date Written: 2011
In recent years, major natural disasters — ranging from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to the 2010 Haiti earthquake — have challenged the global community to ensure the survival and well-being of millions of individuals under the most difficult circumstances. Each of these natural disasters has created crisis spots with huge numbers of displaced individuals, including many children. The international community has struggled to deliver the resources needed to ensure a prompt and full recovery. In these settings, the challenges confronting children are particularly acute. Yet frequently children are marginalized and underserved by disaster response and reconstruction efforts. This symposium article examines the special circumstances facing children in post-disaster settings and the legal protections in place to ensure their rights and well-being. It seeks to draw attention to the lack of accounting for children’s rights and suggest a framework for overcoming this failure — children’s rights mainstreaming
The article begins by examining prevailing conceptions of children in post-disaster settings. It then reviews the existing legal framework to protect children following a natural disaster. This examination of current law unveils significant gaps in protections for children when they most need assistance: humanitarian law does not apply in the absence of armed conflict; human rights law has important limitations; and international disaster relief law is in a nascent stage. In the final section, this article proposes the mainstreaming of children’s rights in post-disaster relief and reconstruction efforts in order to better ensure the rights and well-being of children and the longterm development of their communities.
Keywords: children's rights, mainstreaming, gender, natural disasters, international law, security, health, education, participation
JEL Classification: H50, I10, I20, I31, K30, K33, O20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation