This is Not a Drill: Confronting Legal Issues in the Wake of International Disasters
“Mega-disasters” – whether sparked by nature or human activity – used to be once in a lifetime. Today, they are once in a news cycle. From Typhoon Haiyan in 2014, which uprooted over a million Filipinos, to the Great East Japan Earthquake and radiological emergency, which resulted in the evacuation of 300,000, 1,600 deaths, and massive water contamination, to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which killed over 220,000 people at a stroke, the international community is increasingly called to provide its support to “international disasters” around the world.
But what are the rules of this game? Does an affected country have to accept outside help? Who is in charge in a massive response operation? What happens when the results of one nation’s disaster (such as nuclear radiation, a deadly disease, or a massive flux of people) spills over on others?
This important event, to be held at Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday, February 13, 2015, will seek to answer these and other pressing legal questions related to international disaster response. The symposium will be organized by the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law (VJTL) and co-sponsored by the American Society of International Law Disaster Law Interest Group and the International Disaster Law Project (a joint initiative of the Universities of Bologna, Roma Tre, Uninettuno and Pisa, Sant’Anna). Symposium participants will include leading scholars and practitioners from across the country and abroad. Papers from the event will be published in a dedicated volume of the VJTL.
Of special note, Dr. Eduardo Valencia-Ospina will serve as the Symposium’s keynote speaker. Dr. Valencia-Ospina is the United Nations International Law Commission (“ILC”) Special Rapporteur on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters. In this position, he leads the ILC’s project to develop “Draft articles on the protection of persons in the event of disaster.” The full text of the “Draft articles” has just been adopted in first reading and has been sent to UN member states for comment. Dr. Valencia-Ospina will speak about the goals and challenges of the project, after which an expert panel will discuss the text and its prospects.
For information on registration and participation, please visit the symposium web page at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/jotl/symposiums.
Call for papers
In addition to the high-level speakers already confirmed on the ILC project, operational issues in disaster response, and nuclear accidents, the organizers of this seminar are issuing an open call for papers on other themes. Interested persons should submit abstracts of no more than 500 words, treating current issues related to transnational law and international disaster response, along with a CV.
Abstracts should be submitted to laura.feezor@Vanderbilt.Edu no later than November 10. Please note that speakers selected from the open call will be kindly expected to attend the seminar at their own expense as well as completing a 5,000 word draft no later than January 12.