A Human Rights-Based Vulnerability Paradigm

Lessons from the case of displaced women in post-quake Haiti

Authored by: Ingrid Nifosi-Sutton

Routledge Handbook of Human Rights and Disasters

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138069916
eBook ISBN: 9781315115238
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores the vulnerability of disaster-affected persons as conceptualised by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR), at times explicitly and at times implicitly, in its General Comments on the right to adequate housing. The chapter applies the vulnerability paradigm to the situation of internally displaced women in post-quake Haiti between 2014 and 2015. It argues that said paradigm is an important analytical and operational tool for bringing about adequate protection of disaster victims and better disaster management in State parties to the UN Covenant on ESCR that have been affected by disasters, especially those particularly destructive. The chapter demonstrates how the vulnerability paradigm leads to invaluable understanding of the predicament of persons affected by disasters. The chapter further highlights a cluster of specific human rights obligations, ensuing from the paradigm, for State parties to the Covenant on ESCR to implement in the event of devastating disasters for the purpose of tackling disaster victims’ exposure to homelessness, and which is conducive to disaster recovery and resilience.

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