NGOs and the International Law Commission draft articles on the protection of persons in the event of disasters: a relationship of mutual or grudging respect?

Elena Evangelidis, Therese O'Donnell

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This article analyses the role of NGOs in the development and drafting of disaster law in general, and the ILC draft Articles on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters in particular, and by extension what this reveals regarding NGO subjectivity in international law. The substantive content of the draft Articles and their commentaries and how they pertain to NGOs from an operational perspective, is a further area of analysis. The article initially frames humanitarian NGO subjectivity and how this constituency has evolved and how that has implications for its realm of action. Secondly, given its underpinning importance to the ILC project, an analysis of NGO disaster law activity (both autonomous and institutional) is analysed via key instruments. NGOs are a complex and diverse community and attempts to address them in some standardised fashion (which was also acceptable to states) was always going to challenge the ILC. These complexities are analysed in the final main substantive section of the article with particular attention being given to draft Article 12 and the issue of external assistance to disaster-affected states.
Original languageEnglish
JournalYearbook of International Disaster Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2019


  • disasters
  • non-governmental organisations
  • International Law Commission
  • draft articles
  • humanitarian assistance

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