Monday 10 December 2018
London.UK. Today we mark the 70th year anniversary of the United Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is the day that the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Since 2014, HRAS has been explicitly standing up for human rights in the maritime environment. We have been highlighting abuses, recording cases of missing seafarers and fishers at sea, developing international guidance on important subject areas, delivering pertinent news stories and building social media platforms allowing us to disseminate our core message and founding principle that: “Human rights apply at sea as equally as they do on land” .
In the maritime environment and specifically the commercial maritime space, there remains a huge amount of work to be done in educating persons, promoting the respect for human rights, promoting the acceptance of equality, ending impunity and achieving effective remedies for abuses perpetrated at sea.
In 2018, 2,160 persons have died while attempting the Mediterranean Sea crossing. While a solution based on a shared responsibility of maritime migration has been debated during the past years on a European Union level, migrants that have been intercepted while attempting the deadly crossing are in the meantime still returned to detention centres in Libya where their basic human rights have been reported to be violated. In 2018, European States are still failing to agree upon a coordinated search and rescue action that is respectful of human rights and international conventions.
Our latest case study: ‘Seafarers’ Abandonment in the UAE’ brings to light a pattern of abusive practices labour practices. Forty seafarers have been stranded for more than a year on board three ships in anchorage at the UAE with outstanding salaries. Conditions are inhumane, bunker supplies are low, there are daily power cuts and provisions supply are rare. Such practices must stop.
More needs to be done to end human rights abuse at sea.
[UPDATED 10 Dec 18]. Human Rights at Sea has been made aware of a series of human rights and labour abusive practices against seafarers on board three vessels in the UAE belonging to the ship-owner company Elite Way Marine Services EST, incorporated in Dubai. About thirty (30) seafarers contacted Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) to report their situation, to appeal for urgent help and to provide individual statements on their physical and mental condition. All seafarers who contacted HRAS have spent more than two (2) years on-board the vessel with their salaries outstanding.