Defining ‘disaster’: Exploring the boundaries of international disaster law

Date & time

1–2pm Tuesday 19 June 2018


Phillipa Weeks Staff Library

ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Road, The Australian National University


Dr Marie Aronsson-Storrier, University of Reading


For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.


Nicole Harman

Presented by The Centre for International & Public Law

CIPL Seminar
Marie Aronsson-Storrier

As international disaster law is developing into a specific area of international law, debates around its scope are intensifying. This has been particularly evident in relation to the 2016 Draft Articles on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters, adopted by the International Law Commission. Draft Article 3(a) defines ‘Disaster’ as ‘a calamitous event or series of events resulting in widespread loss of life, great human suffering and distress, mass displacement, or large-scale material or environmental damage, thereby seriously disrupting the functioning of society’.

Focusing particularly on the requirement of an event ‘seriously disrupting the functioning of society’, this seminar explores what this requirement can tell us about the management of disruption across legal and political boundaries. Unpacking the emerging international legal definition of Disaster through the lens of sanitation, the seminar further considers the extent to which it excludes the everyday suffering of already marginalized members of said society, which in turn illuminates the limits of and relationship between human rights, development, and disaster management discourses.


  • Marie Aronsson-Storrier »

    Marie Aronsson-Storrier is a lecturer in Global Law and Disasters, and the Programme Director for the LLM/MSc Global Crisis, Conflict, and Disaster Management, at the University of Reading. She holds a PhD in International Law (University of Melbourne, 2017) and a Master of Laws (University of Gothenburg, 2011). Marie has published in the areas of international law on the use of force, human rights, disaster management, disaster risk reduction, international criminal law and international humanitarian law.


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