Understanding Rights Based Approach in Disasters: A case for affirming human dignity


Akerkar, A, Devavaram. J.









Full Harvard Reference:

Akerkar A, Devavaram J (2015), 'Understanding Rights Based Approach in Disasters: A case for affirming human dignity', Hazards, Risks and Society, (eds) Collins et al, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Oxford, UK; Waltham, USA: Elsevier

Using the case study of the 2003 tsunami in Tamil Nadu, India, this book chapter argues for a right-based approach in disasters to aid the reduction of social vulnerability and the promotion of equity in its post-disaster responses. A right-based approach demands closely working with subaltern groups and listening to their critical assessment rights in order to exercise their agency to affirm their rights and dignity. Many of the dominant framing of rights by the state or groups in society fail to encapsulate the experiences of rightslessness felt by marginalised groups post-disaster. Focusing specifically on women widowed as a result of the tsunami, the chapter follows their long journey to dignified recovery and their goal of attaining social rights and affirmation of dignity and equity during disaster recovery. The chapter concludes by calling for the commitment of organisations to work ‘on a sustained basis for longer periods of time’ after a disaster.