Human Rights at Sea Statement for World Refugee Day

Press Release

20 June 2019

London.UK. Against a historic high record of forced displacement that shows that over 70 million people have been forced to flee their home, today on World Refugee Day, Human Rights at Sea stands in solidarity with refugees, with those in refugee-like situations as well as with all individuals seeking international protection.

In particular, Human Rights at Sea calls all States to respect their customary international law duty to rescue people in distress at sea and to stop the ever increasing criminalisation of humanitarian search and rescue.

It shall be reminded that oftentimes perilous crossing of sea routes is the only option refugees and other migrants have left against a background of  hightened cooperative migration deterrence.

On World Refugee Day 2019 it shall also be reminded that all forcibly displaced persons, seeking safety and refuge are entitled to their fundamental human rights being protected at all times, and without exception.


Important Note to Readers

Human Rights at Sea continues to publish educational materials, publications, investigative case studies of individual and family testimony highlighting unacceptable conditions onboard vessels of all tonnages, as well as throughout the associated maritime supply chain, in order to establish greater public awareness of the issues raised without compromising our editorial freedom.

The charity does not subscribe to any imposed protocols and agreements with other entities effectively limiting the ability to report freely and objectively disclose facts, including the reality of unacceptable labour and wider human rights abuses at sea.

The charity will therefore continue to take a legal and moral stand whenever and wherever it can to fairly advocate for the betterment of human rights, working conditions, and the reduction in abuse at sea. This includes pressing issues such as the criminalisation of seafarers and humanitarian rescuers, abuses towards migrants, impunity of flag States in transparently reacting to and addressing reported abuse, the expansion of the positive contributory role of civil society organisations in the maritime sector, and the provision of greater awareness of effective remedies when abuse occurs.

Our Ask in return

We rely on public and private donations to be able to continue this invaluable and independent work free of bias and interference and every donation, however small or large, goes to assure continuation of our transparent and objective front-end work ensuring that ‘human rights apply at sea, as they do on land’. Thank you.

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