ernment in whose territory disaster occurs has the primary obligation to protect its citizens, international agencies andthe international community o nations share obligations o humanitarian assistance.Tough not express, the duty to cooperate among nationson disaster reduction and response could presumably in-clude an obligation o receiving states to provide some levelo assistance to victims o disasters that move into or remainin the state’s territory aer a disaster, at least on a temporary basis. Te Framework emphasizes more strategic coordina-tion among states. Its principles have been supported by the2006 Operational Guidelines on Human Rights and NaturalDisasters,
adopted by the Inter-Agency Standing Com-mittee o humanitarian agencies established by the UnitedNations to help countries coordinate disaster reduction andrelie, and the International Committee o the Red Cross(ICRC) Guidelines or the Domestic Facilitation and Regu-lation o International Disaster Relie and Initial Recovery Assistance.
International human rights law reinorces the humanitar-ian obligation o states to cooperate and assist governmentsless able to ulll and protect the human rights o thosedisplaced by a disaster. For example, the treaty body estab-lished to monitor the implementation o the InternationalCovenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has stat-ed that “States parties have a joint and individual responsi-bility, in accordance with the Charter o the United Nationsand relevant resolutions o the United Nations GeneralAssembly and o the World Health Assembly, to cooperatein providing disaster relie and humanitarian assistance intimes o emergency, including assistance to reugees andinternally displaced persons.”
While international law relating to reugees is generally inapplicable to climate change, certain reugee relatedprinciples and humanitarian norms convey governmentobligations that are relevant. Moreover, some governmentshave adopted voluntary discretionary mechanisms thatcould apply temporarily to protect international migrantsdisplaced by extreme weather events or by conict relatedto such events. However, as will be discussed, longer-termlegal protection is quite limited or international migrants.
Rights and obligations related to international migrants
As a general rule, people who move voluntarily or who areorced to move across an international border are entitled toall o their undamental human rights guarantees that pro-tect human dignity.
Tese include civil, political, economic,social and cultural rights such as the right o reedom o movement; to choose their place o residence; to engage inreligion or cultural practice; the right to lie, privacy and tohealth; the right to seek employment; and the right not to bediscriminated. With ew exceptions, however, this does notinclude a right to enter another country, to work or remainthere, or to receive the same legal protection as a reugeeunder international law.Tis poses a serious concern or disaster victims who acelittle alternative to survival than to cross into another coun-try because international migration may aord them greaterhuman security. Many victims o slow-onset droughtdisasters view themselves in this light. A prolonged droughtevent may not appear as urgent as a tsunami or ood whichattracts immediate international attention, but the need orprotection, or a new survival strategy, or jobs outside thedrought-aected area, e.g., via labor migration, may be justas compelling a humanitarian issue.Humanitarian agencies are increasingly occupied withdrought concerns in the Horn o Arica where, or example,a severe drought is entering its h year in the region.
Mil-lions o people are suering ood insecurity, water scarcity and loss o employment. Tis has led to increased migra-tion throughout the region. Te International Organiza-tion or Migration (IOM) recently reported that the bordero Liboi into Kenya has become a major border crossingor drought-aected Somalis who are undocumented butsearching or better livelihood or work in Kenya.
TeNorwegian Reugee Council also reported similar interna-
Study Team on Climate-Induced Migration
Protecting Persons Affected by Natural Disasters, IASC Guidelines (June 9, 2006).
Developed by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 30IC/07/R4 annex (2007).
General Comment 14, Right to Health, International Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, supra note 11, at 20.
The UN Ofce for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Reliefweb database, has documented the crises, and its ndings and related research can be found at: http://
In Pursuit of the Southern Dream: Victims of Necessity
, April 2009 (IOM, Geneva).