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EIHRSDS Intensive Course

26 – 30 June 2023

European and International Human Rights Standards in Disaster Settings 

Jean Monnet Module - Intensive Course

Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna - Pisa - Italy - 3rd Edition



Over the last years, the impact of natural and technological disasters has been constantly on the rise, both within and outside the EU. The recent Covid-19 pandemic is just the last dramatic example.

Looking at this phenomenon through a legal lens, it is widely acknowledged that disasters heavily impact the rights of the affected communities. At the same time, humanitarian organizations insist that human rights principles should be integrated into disaster management policies in order to strengthen prevention, response, and recovery efforts while increasing the protection of the affected individuals and communities.

These developments notwithstanding, the real impact of human rights standards on disaster prevention and response has been insufficiently explored so far. Efforts to disseminate human rights standards applicable in disaster settings have been limited, including in Europe. The intensive course on European and International Human Rights Standards in Disaster Settings (EIHRSDS) aims at addressing these gaps.



The course is structured as a 5-day intensive course (Monday-Friday). The entire course runs for 38 hours (normally 8.30-18.00). The course will be held in person.

The course aims to:

  • provide participants with a sound knowledge of the legal frameworks pertaining to disaster management activities and the role of human rights in the prevention and response to natural and technological disasters;
  • raise awareness on the critical role of human rights in disaster settings, and therefore favour a more human rights-sensitive approach to disaster management;
  • engage participants in exchanges of ideas and experiences so as to foster academic and professional cooperation among all those involved.

The teaching methodology will be characterized by frontal lecturing and more interactive training techniques (simulation exercises, case study solving, etc.). 

Participants will have access to online resources ahead of the sessions, so as to favour their active participation during classes and improve the learning experience.



The course is divided into five sub-modules, one for each day of classes:

· Introduction to International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and Disasters, providing a general introduction to international disaster law and IHRL and addressing the primary role of the affected State in disaster management activities as well as the possibility for humanitarian assistance interventions by other states and actors; 

· Actors in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection, focusing on non-State actors that have a role in disaster management activities, especially in those related to human rights protection. Specific sessions will be devoted to the role of the UN and its agencies, of the EU, of corporate actors and of Non-Governmental Organizations (or similar entities, such as the IFRC); 

· Applying Human Rights in Disaster Settings, dealing with concrete human rights standards as applied to disaster settings, what sort of legal duties they impose on States with regards to disaster management and if and how far States can compress the enjoyment of human rights to tackle the effects of disasters;

· Protection Issuesshedding light on the notion of ‘vulnerability’ and exploring the specific protection needs of vulnerable segments of the population such as migrants and forcibly displaced populations (including IDPs) and children;

· Human Rights and Disaster Prevention/Mitigationaddressing the interplay between IHRL and other branches of international law that contribute to preventing and mitigating disasters. One session will be specifically devoted to climate change law, and a second will look at Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) initiatives, particularly the 2015 Sendai Framework for DRR. 



The course is open to a maximum of 25 participants. 

The course is intended for graduate and post-graduate students, research fellows and other academics, practitioners working on disaster-management issues for national and international organizations, NGOs and other actors active in the area (e.g. IFRC, national Red Cross Societies, etc.). Applicants must have a sound working knowledge of the English language. 

Thanks to financing from the EU Jean Monnet Module, graduate and post-graduate students will be required to pay a fee of 50 €; PhD students will be required to pay a fee of 100 €. Professionals working in the field of human rights and/or disaster management will be required to pay a fee of 250 €.

Applicants will be selected by an ad hoc Committee headed by the course coordinator. Selection criteria will include: academic background; professional background; experiences as a volunteer; motivational statement.

Participants attending at least 80% of the classes will be awarded a certificate of attendance.

Participants wanting to obtain university credits (ECTS) will be allowed to do so, provided that they pass the course’s final exam. The exam will be composed of multiple-choice questions, covering the whole spectrum of the course’s content.


First round of selection: 9 May 2023

Second round of selection: 6 June 2023

Applications will be processed on a rolling basis, which means that the course may be booked up before 6 June 2023.





Riccardo Luporini,

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, DIRPOLIS Institute, Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies | Pisa