A human rights based approach to disasters

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A human rights based approach to disasters

‘It rains on the rich and the poor alike, but more on the poor since the rich have umbrellas’.
Extended a little, it provides a snapshot of the differential effect of disasters. While disasters may or may not affect everyone equally, disaster response is unequal, being a factor of affluence. Both the directly affected and the relief workers respond within the social frameworks that are based on stratification, bias and prejudice. 

This note looks at the necessity for a human rights based approach [HRBA] to disasters, and some pointers on what such an approach would look like. It is to introduce the concepts for discussion. It looks at certain principles of what an HRBA would have, and then the areas of special attention. The HRBA is, as its name suggests, an approach, but it does have measurable outputs and increased efficiency. Its applicability is cross-cutting and inter-sectoral.

This note draws from the fact-finding report of Annie Namala of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights [NCDHR] for the section on Caste, Children in Disasters After the cameras have gone: A report for Plan UK November 2002 [Edited by Amer Jabry] for Children and the Gender and Disaster Network for the gender aspects. We thank them, as also the innumerable others who shared with us their experience of the 2004 December Tsunami relief, Kashmir and Latur earthquakes, and the Orissa Super Cyclone.

1 Why an HRBA to disasters?
A disaster is an event or a process that is beyond the capacity of the entity to cope. Disasters can be natural, such as a flood, tsunami or earthquake, or manmade such as a war, riot or genocide. It requires external support to surmount. Disasters do not change basic human behaviour, only intensifies the inherent, ingrained characteristics. Thus the truism that they bring out the best and the worst of human behaviour. It is precisely due to this reason that HRBA is all the more necessary during disasters: because disasters do not affect everyone equally, and the traditionally disadvantaged face more violations of their rights.

Avoidable starvation, preventable illness and predictable disaster are political events due to corporate globalization and neoliberal politics in the rich countries, and the rich in all countries, where almost all disaster industry agencies, including bingos live. There would be no tsunami disaster in Tamilnadu, and certainly not in this scale, if the government of Tamilnadu did not eye the coastal land for at least the past two decades and embark on a process of hostility and deliberate neglect.

A HRBA is to ensure that the response is not biased, the relief is not exclusionary, the rehabilitation is inclusive and the reconstruction is equitable. A rights and solidarity based approach has multiple advantages. It is based on clearly identified and articulated values, codified under internationally accepted law and voluntarily accepted by states. It recognises the agency of the poor and supports them in change at the pace they determine. It provides space for action of the poor themselves, space for solidarity of the non-poor, clear duties and responsibilities for the state, and non-negotiable minimum standards and deliverables in social, economic, cultural, civil and political rights.

1.1 An optional extra?
Human rights is often seen as an optional extra. However, the core concern of human rights is to ensure a ‘right to life with dignity for all at all times’. There is a need for a reality check on attitudes towards the needy.

Even during disasters, people are acutely conscious of their dignity. The constant refrain—from the earthquake in Gujarat to the south Asian Tsunami—was that ‘we are not beggars’. The mountains of affluent middle-class ‘donated’ clothing discarded by the victims on the streets of the affected towns and villages confirm that assertion. Even in the midst of despair, they did not want second-hand clothing. They were disaster affected, but they were not beggars. They did not want charity, but they wanted support to become self-sufficient again. They stoutly rejected sympathy and ‘handouts’. There are of course deeper structural reasons but this desire for dignity alone is reason enough to make HRBA important.

HRBA addresses both the dynamic, ever changing process of poverty, while simultaneously addressing the vexed issue of intersectionality—multiple forms of vulnerability and discrimination that are more debilitating. This ensures that the entire gamut of poverty creation is addressed, but the more vulnerable who suffer more deprivation gets more priority though the needs of all are addressed.

1.2 Vulnerability and response: State infrastructure
The government’s response is hampered by the very design of its infrastructure. States have infrastructure—both physical and mental—to take from the poor and give to the rich. This is an intrinsic characteristic of institutional systems: they take from others and give to their constituency. Trade unions have systems to get and deliver benefits, goods and services to their members—often organised labour. Civil society organisations [CSOs], in contrast, have the infrastructure to take from the rich and give to the poor. The state infrastructure is based on force or the implicit threat of use of force, while CSO infrastructure is based on voluntary compliance. Despite such difference in infrastructure, constituencies and character, the state and CSOs need to work together. Relief and reconstruction is hardly likely to be voluntary, tension-free or ‘neutral’ and so requires government backing. CSOs can only monitor that it reaches the last mile. Even here, actual end user ownership can be insured only by organisations of the affected. Since these are ‘contested institutions’ in a stratified society, their impartiality is often in question.

That the state always consists of the dominant is a given. What is expected of the state is only that it be an honest broker. Impartiality of the state is seldom expected by experienced social activists. But no matter how bad the state, CSOs cannot match its reach or resources. Ensuring the state fulfils its duties becomes a survival need.

1.3 Vulnerability: The structural implications
There are certain sections of people who are more adversely affected by disasters. They are the excluded of any society—whether intentional or unintentional—and is only a continuation of the ‘peacetime’ exclusion. It is important to recognise that these same groups of people are more vulnerable to human rights violations than others during and after a disaster. Those vulnerable both during the disaster and in its aftermath are the poor, mostly minority, residents. 

However, poverty is human-created. Despite the knowledge of the impending storm ‘Katrina’, government authorities in USA did not evacuate the city’s poorest residents. Those staying in luxury hotels were able to buy their way out. The difference between life and death was the difference of being able to pay a few dollars for their bus ticket out of New Orleans. In case of deaths by accidents, the governments routinely pay out different compensations to those travelling by road, rail or air. A human rights approach is required to minimise these disparities at least for the basic survival needs.

2 Effects
To reiterate, disasters do not affect everyone equally. While manmade disasters target specific individuals and groups—and therefore are designed to have asymmetric effects—the difference in impact is as stark even during ‘natural’ disasters. This is because the poor and disadvantaged live and are located in the most vulnerable geo-political areas, with the most fragile life-support and coping systems. They do not have the strategic depth to absorb the impact of disasters. Their whole life alternates between a permanent crisis and disasters.

The vulnerable groups are dependent on the dominant for their livelihoods. So they are often made to ‘wait for their turn’ till the dominant get their lives back on even kneel. This ‘waiting’ is all the more difficult since their buffers are much less than the affluent. The powerful prevent the aid from reaching the vulnerable sometimes by physical force and intimidation, but oftentimes by simply cornering the benefits since the dominant are often the conduits through which the affected are identified and the aid is distributed.

All of society’s vulnerable groups bear a disproportionate burden of disaster. This is in addition to the effects on others. Where there are multiple vulnerabilities—such as a Dalit girl who faces discrimination due to age, sex and caste—discrimination is multiplied that many times. Though in this note we look only at two vulnerable sections, the children and Dalits, there are many such vulnerable groups that can be identified:
• The poor.
• Senior citizens.
• Women.
• Children.
• The differently-abled.
• The minorities: ethnic, linguistic, religious, sexual, … ‘the other’.
• The sick and injured, whether hospitalised or not.
• … and all the traditionally powerless.

2.1 Children
The tragedy of children is not only that they are the most vulnerable in a disaster, but of their exploitation in the aftermath. They are the most photographed and least listened to members of society in relief and reconstruction. Though most of the resources for rehabilitation are raised on the strength of these images that tug at the heartstrings, they are excluded in all aspects of reconstruction. Though some do ask ‘what is the child’s best interests’ it is seldom answered by children. The answer is frequently given by adults.

Children often are kidnapped and trafficked into sex work, begging or crime by organised crime. They are often given in adoption or institutional care, uprooting them from their communities and culture, increasing stress levels and trauma, by well meaning but misinformed persons.

2.2 Caste
Social response
Even a disaster of the magnitude of the South Asian 2004 tsunami could make the affected come together. The fisher-folk refused to be put together with the ‘untouchable’ Dalits. The Dalits were forced into different shelters. They were discriminated against during relief also. For instance in Karaikal, one of the tsunami affected villages in Tamilnadu in South India, the fisher-folk received 60 kilograms of rice while the landless agricultural labourers—mainly Dalits—received only 5 kilograms. This is bizarre since both have lost their livelihoods: the fisher-folk lost their boats and nets and thus the ability to fish while the Dalits lost their ability to get work on lands since the land became saline with the ingress of the sea. Even the government segregated the relief camps. So strong is the hold of the caste system that even in their distress, others refused to inter-dine or share relief camps with Dalits. 

The religio-cultural internalisation of caste displayed its devastating consequences when the fisher-folk, who consider themselves as a Backward Class, routinely denied aid for the Dalits who were equally affected in some pockets. They maintained that the fisher folk, and only the fisher folk, were affected so all aid should be to them and them alone. While this appropriation of aid and monopolising sympathy can be justified based on some convoluted logic, what is totally unjustified and immoral was the absolute refusal of the fisher folk to even share accommodation with the Dalits even for a day! They were afraid that their contact with the Dalits would pollute them. It is a sobering fact that even a humanitarian crisis of such enormous proportions could not weed out the inhuman caste discrimination and bring about solidarity.

State response
Ironically, Dalits were imported from other areas to bury the dead.[2] At about 3.30am on 27 December 2004, the government woke up about 700 sleeping Dalit sanitary workers from Tiruchi, Palani, Pollachi and Madurai and transported them in lorries to Nagapattinam to unearth and bury the dead bodies. They were not given gloves, masks or gumboots that were supplied even to passers by, had no toilets to wash, were not supplied soaps and had to make do with a makeshift bath under whatever wayside tap or nearby tank they could fine. There were no arrangements for their food and they were forced to request food from the relief supplies, which was given as ‘charity’ to them. They had to wait for their food, while the cooked food was being served to other relief workers—simply because common dining is still not on the government agenda even after 50 years of abolishing untouchability in the Constitution in continuation of discriminatory caste practice.

2.3 Religion
Religion and practice
In times of personal tragedy, religion often provides comfort and support. One would expect that religion would be a source of comfort in the times of natural calamities and disasters. Unfortunately it is not so. It is in these times that the institutional religions—all of them—display their expansionist and parochial behaviour. The December 2004 tsunami is perhaps the best example of the unethical behaviour of institutionalised religion in stark contrast to the awe-inspiring behaviour of affected individuals and those who felt empathy towards them.

During emergencies, and times of great change, people look to the known and the simplistic for comfort. At these times they are vulnerable, and faith is easy to manipulate. It is important that all right thinking citizens work to keep faith based groups out of disaster relief and community reconstruction since that is when the affected people are at their most vulnerable, and liable to be misused. A few were motivated by their religion to compassion and empathy. Their efforts were drawn from the bedrock of their faith, and encompassed all those who were affected, regardless of any distinction—caste, sex, religion, or any other. But they were in a minority. It also demonstrates the best face of secular India: where faith is a personal affair, from which we draw our strength but does not become a political construct.

While there were stray cases of people opening up places of worship to shelter entire communities irrespective of religious belief, institutional religion showed its worst side in the aftermath. Almost all religions of the world, without exception, blamed the tsunami—and all subsequent disasters including the Kashmir earthquake—on divine wrath. That in itself would not be diabolical if not for the fact that they said that it was god’s punishment for the debauchery of the other religions.

Others took the circuitous route of condemnation and orthodoxy. One of the most benign was the group of Orthodox Jewish Rabbis who came to South East Asia to ensure that none of their co-religionists met their makers without the proper rituals to speed them on their way. So they completed the arduous task of identifying the Jews among the victims and then administering the last rites. 

Of gods and godmen
A Bangalore based new age guru who teaches the rich breathing techniques promptly wrote an article about how there should be research on why only Hindu temples were spared, while all other buildings were destroyed. Was there some special science—‘Vedic’ science perhaps?—that was known in the days of yore, but was now forgotten? He suggested research in that direction. It is perhaps a laughable suggestion, but even in this he was not original or unique. This was a mass delusion of fundamentalist Christian and Muslim priests, who made the same claims as well.

There was an unseemly scramble to identify and bury ‘our dead’ between the ‘volunteers’ of different religious groups. One religious group in particular laid claim to bodies, and then waited till persons from a particular caste could arrive to carry it off. During the delay they shooed off all others, despite the bodies starting to putrefy. There were turf wars during this early stage itself.

Priests and nuns stored relief material in one village. When they found out that there were no members of their religion there, they told the people of the village that they should either convert or let them take the relief materials to another village which had their co-religionists. This naturally made the people there furious. Fortunately saner counsel prevailed before the situation turned nasty. With discretion being the better part of valour, the misguided religious zealots quickly left.

Science and technology for superstition
It is in cyberspace that the venom of religion is most frequently—and unabashedly—expressed. This is but natural given the anonymity of the medium, and the poor educational level of its users. The users are often immature, expensively schooled, with enormous technological power in their hands. The gloating when adherents of the ‘other’ religions died is but a minor sideshow. Aid was mobilised, and denied, using the electronic media. While institutional religion constantly preaches the bygone utopia to its adherents, it has warmly embraced technology to propagate its medieval worldview.

3 Responses: Everybody loves a good disaster
Disaster response is to ensure that that dignity and security are restored to all people in the affected areas, especially the most vulnerable. Disasters are sudden. They are sometimes unexpected and unpredictable. In contrast, the rehabilitation process is long enough to ensure inclusion and equity. The components of the process are well known, and the response can be designed for ensuring the dignity of all.

The response of the Great Indian Middle Class was wholehearted after the December 2004 Tsunami. Contributions just poured in… and some Indian companies pledged more aid than the ‘richest nation in the world and sole super-power’. Then came the floods in Mumbai, Chennai, north Karnataka, Bangalore and the Kashmir earthquake. All but the last are manmade disasters. The response of the citizens to subsequent disasters has been less than heart-warming. Some talk of the ‘aid fatigue’. Reality is different.

There is competing charity where there are different parties in power. The central government does not want to route the money through the state government—preferring the bank route instead. This mutual suspicion is due to the well-founded fear that relief will be used for political purposes. There is little accountability and accounting for the money that has come in so far. In Keralam at least, the ‘official’ contribution has been more than Rupees one million—some say ten times that—per affected family. Yet, almost a year down the line, the families are still living in temporary tin sheds. 

3.1 From disaster to destitution: The timeline
There are distinct phases in the reaction that leads the vulnerable to destitution. It is the criminals who act in the first hours. The bodily jewellery and cash are systematically looted in the first few hours, as also the portable high use or high resale value items such as TV sets. This is very distinct from the survival scrounging and scavenging that sometimes takes survivors to the only remaining places where food and other essentials are hoarded: the supermarkets abandoned by their rich owners who flee the disaster zone. 

Within the first few days, and certainly within the first week, the land of the weaker sections is encroached upon. Dalit lands were routinely encroached on both during the Latur earthquake and the 2004 Tsunami. The Tamilnadu government has for long wanted the coastal areas to give to their party-men in the infamous ‘East Coast Road’. Little wonder then that fisher-folk refused to move out for ‘rehabilitation’. However, displacement took place almost immediately after the tsunami. Land relations were redrawn. The government, with the unwitting support of some do-gooders, ‘resettled’ the survivors inland. Wherever the dominant castes coveted the land of the Dalits, the Dalits were forcibly evicted. In some cases the Dalit lands were made into burial grounds of others.

A well-intentioned state initiative pledged money in the name of the orphaned girl children. This was to have devastating unintended consequences. Within six months there was a spate of ‘Tsunami Marriages’ since the girl orphans were given compensation money that the close relatives coveted. Young teenage girls, sometimes even pre-teens, were married off to middle aged men. Even parents used their compensation money to ‘settle’ their minor daughters. The girl orphans and widows were specially vulnerable since they would be thrown out of the houses after all the compensation money from all sources were received.

3.2 The social response
Disaster tourism is widespread especially by the international jet-set or its local equivalent. While the local bigwigs come in within a couple of days, the national and international ones—both private and government—come in within a week. Ostensibly to help in relief, they are more a hindrance, creating avoidable traffic jams and come with their own vicarious hidden agendas. The ‘camps’ set up by foreign agencies have led to the inevitable disaster tourism with those from the head office ‘visiting’ often to review ‘the rehabilitation process’. They create additional pressure on the already stressed support infrastructure.

Organised crime makes its presence felt within a week. Trafficking for sex-work and paedophilia are most widespread, though loot is also reported. In manmade disasters too, this pattern holds good.

The middle class often responds with a sense of charity. However, the middle class ‘practical approach’ has a healthy sense of self-preservation. First and foremost, disasters are occasions for the not so subtle attempts to dispose off the old clothes, unwanted linen and woollens. The Gujarat earthquake saw people reject old clothes, and saying quite openly on TV that they were victims of a disaster and needed relief but that they were not beggars. The mountains of clothes shown in graphic detail on TV by the roadside after the tsunami confirms that a significant section of the clothes ‘donated’ were those that would in any case be discarded.

The business class sees this as a opportunity—right from reconstruction material, contracts, and in the production of relief material. Profiteering is only the extreme expression of this inherent mindset. In either case, it is an excellent opportunity to get rid of sub-standard, unusable old-stock.

Solidarity contribution is much less, though it is much more needed. But solidarity response, which can address their needs best, depends on prior contact, or willingness to work with those who are already there. For instance, though under-linen are a desperate need, people are unlikely to take them from do-gooder strangers. But few are willing to work through others who can fulfil these kinds of needs. Fewer are willing to acknowledge the agency of the affected people. 

4 Standards for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction
4.1 First steps 
1. Do no harm.
2. Stop, look and listen before taking action.
3. Don’t act in isolation.
4. Think beyond the immediate crisis to the long-term.
5. Bear in mind the expertise of local organizations.
6. Find out how your prospective collaborators operate.
7. Be accountable to those you are trying to help.
8. Make best use of locally available resources: personnel, knowledge, expertise…
9. Communicate your work widely, and use it as an educational tool.

4.2 General standards
Some of the rights guaranteed to the disaster affected:
• Right to security and life.
• Family reunification.
• Medical services.
• Essential food and potable water.
• Basic shelter and housing.
• Education.
• Appropriate clothing.
• Essential medical services and sanitation.

It is the duty of the government to ensure that the affected can return to their homes with dignity and security. Humanitarian assistance must be distributed without discrimination. The most vulnerable, and those with the most need, should receive assistance first. 

There are international standards for each of these.[3] For instance, the international standard is that each affected person has the right to 20 litres of potable water per day, within 500 meters from their home, and waiting only 15 minutes to get it. For toilets there needs to be both security and privacy. It has to be accessible to the women, children and the differently-abled, far enough to afford them privacy, near enough to afford them security. 

4.3 Programme considerations
Emergency response, despite its temporary nature are investments in long term development.[4] They cannot be phased out at will. The implementation of short-term emergency projects must comprise long-term strategies including the necessary shifts in the roles and responsibilities of the institutions and eventual time bound handover to the state and community. Support should not reinforce a sense of dependency on outside aid.

The Social Equity Audit [SEA] identifies the vulnerable groups and their multiple levels of vulnerability. It is a still evolving tool developed as a combination of the Sphere Standards and a participatory, human rights approach.
• Identify the vulnerable groups early, before the disaster when possible. SEA and response becomes invaluable for this.
• Programmes for vulnerable sections should always have top priority in natural disasters, armed conflict and complex humanitarian emergency situations.
• Remember that you can help best if you already have relationships with the affected. If not, try to work with those who do. This is the best way to maximise impact, and do no harm.
• Create ‘safe spaces’ and ‘peace zones’ where the vulnerable sections are ensured
o Adequate food.
o Safe water.
o Clothing.
o Shelter.
o Sanitation.
o Health care.
• Protect from danger, violence, abuse and sexual and economic exploitation both during relief and rehabilitation.
• Monitor for symptoms of psychological trauma and intervene when they occur.
• Find reliable caretakers for unaccompanied children and differently-abled. [Their guides and caretakers would also be disoriented, and their support infrastructure may be disfunctional].
• Involve the vulnerable in their own recovery. Allow them as much as responsibility as they can shoulder. Entrust as many tasks to them that they can reasonably accomplish. The tasks should be light enough so that they can do without risk of failure, at the same time strenuous enough to distract them from brooding. It should bring back ‘normalcy’.
• The local youth should be mobilised. Their knowledge and familiarity with the area will speed up relief. External volunteers would take time to be familiarised, and should be brought in only if the local youth are unable to meet the demands.
• This is an opportunity to create democratic communities. However, you should already have a good idea of local social organisation before you attempt this. Disempowering local traditional power structures leaves the communities vulnerable to much larger global processes over which they have less control.

4.4 HRBA: The value added
Because the HRBA operates from a ‘worms eye view’ it is sometimes called the ‘reversal’ process. What would you like others to do for you if you were most powerless among the disaster affected? If you were at the receiving end, what would your preference be? This reversal is the touchstone of the approach. Though there will certainly be mistakes done, an approach of humility and caring will ensure that they are understood as genuine mistakes.

A HRBA ensures that relief and rehabilitation is:
• Inclusive: It focuses on the most vulnerable and addresses the intersectionality of discrimination. Action is based on this vulnerability assessment. This ensures that ‘no one is left behind’.
• Safeguards the rights of the affected. Support is extended as a right, rather than a handout.
• Enjoins duties on the state and those less affected.
• Give affected people progressively greater responsibilities so that they can retake control over their life and livelihoods.
• Uses their knowledge, wisdom and expertise. This brings them to normalcy faster, since they feel ‘useful’ and brings back a ‘schedule’ and ‘structure’ to their day.
HRBA brings the promise of more effective, more sustainable, more rational and more genuine development processes.[5]
• They enhance accountability by identifying specific duties and duty–bearers in the development process. Development moves from charity to obligation, making it easier to monitor progress.
• They promote higher levels of empowerment, ownership, and free, meaningful and active participation, by putting beneficiaries in charge of development. Local ownership and participation are fundamental to sustainable improvements.
• Greater normative clarity and detail provided by the international instruments and the authoritative interpretations of treaty bodies and human rights mechanisms, which list and define the content of development.
• Easier consensus, as development objectives, indicators and plans can be based on the agreed and universal standards of the international human rights instruments.
• A more complete and rational development framework, with development sectors mirroring the enumerated rights of the human rights framework. The more comprehensive human rights framework provides guidance on all areas of human development, including health, education, housing, personal security, justice administration and political participation.
• Integrated safeguards against unintentional harm by development projects.
• More effective and complete analysis: Traditional poverty analyses based their judgments on income and economic indicators alone. A human rights analysis reveals additional concerns of the poor themselves, including the phenomena of powerlessness and social exclusion. A more thorough analysis yields better responses and better results.
• A more authoritative basis for advocacy and for claims on resources, with international legal obligations and national commitments empowering development advocates.
• They are much more cost effective. The government has the most resources. 

The rights–based approach helps secure a part of this to the most vulnerable. The quantum of the funds thus diverted is much more than what any external intervention can provide to the people as charity. It uses the existing—but unused—capacity and infrastructure of the state. This is perhaps one of the best–kept secrets of the rights–based approach. 

A rights–based approach is much more effective and gives better return on investment even in the medium term. HRBA ensures that the people get everything that any charity based welfare or service delivery approach can give them. In addition, it demystifies the state and other institutions so that the poor do not continue as objects of charity but become creators of their destiny. It stresses the fact that the state and other institutions are to serve and enhance the well–being of the people and not the other way round.

Here the process is crucial because a charity based service delivery approach is very disempowering and creates dependency. HRBA results in an ‘empowerment’ process, which will get them the same goods with the help of external facilitators the first time around. But the process will enhance their skills and experience so that they can at least continue getting these goods. In essence, a rights–based approach is a ‘development plus’ approach.

HRBA removes people from poverty and enables them to stand on their own feet. It frees them from the burden of gratitude brought on by a welfare or charity based approach. Instead, it enables them to claim solidarity and support as a right. It simultaneously instils in them the duty to help others. This component of human dignity is the true added value of HRBA.

5 A year of learning
A year down the line, there are some at the loose ends of relief and rehabilitation. The communal and religious fundamentalists have used this opportunity to gain respect for themselves by aligning with social activists.

It has been a year of brutal learning, the foremost of which is that you cannot help someone you don’t know. We must channel our aid through those who are already there. People and institutions in stratified societies do not change just because of a disaster. Relief must be followed by rehabilitation and reconstruction quickly, in a planned transition. The rehabilitation and reconstruction must conform to the cultural needs of the affected, and be within their capacity to maintain. A human rights approach to disaster relief and rehabilitation is necessary. It is the only way to safeguard the dignity of those affected, and enable them to stand on their own in the shortest possible time.

For those who felt that Sainath was cynical when he wrote ‘Everybody loves a good drought’… welcome to the real world. It is not only droughts. Everybody loves a good drought, earthquake, tsunami, flood… or for that matter any good disaster. HRBA is to ensure that it is not at the cost of the poorest of the poor, the most destitute, the most powerless and the most vulnerable—in other words, not at the cost of the powerless. Life with dignity, for all at all times: even in disasters, relief, and rehabilitation.

—oO(end of document)Oo—

2 Report of the fact-finding mission of NCDHR by Annie Namalla.
3 For comprehensive international standards in each of these see The Sphere Handbook: The Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response
4 Edited and adapted from Children in Disasters After the cameras have gone: A report for Plan UK November 2002 Edited by Amer Jabry.
5 UNHCHR Mary Robinson, opening statement to the General Assembly Special Session on Social Development, Geneva, June 2000.


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