Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea Operational Annex under review

Press Release

1 March 2021

London. UK.  On Friday 26th February, Prof. Dr.iur. Anna Petrig, Prof. Irini Papanicolopulu, Prof. Steven Haines, Dr. Sofia Galani, David Hammond and Dr. Elisabeth Mavropoulou, members of the core drafting team of the Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea, virtually convened to review the drafting of the Operational Annex of the final version of the Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea.

The Operational Annex will be the most challenging of the supporting Annexes to the main document (Version 1), as it will focus on the detail and the applicability of the four fundamental principles underpinning the Declaration, those being:

1. Human rights apply at sea to exactly the same degree and extent that they do on land.
2. All persons at sea, without any distinction, are entitled to their human rights.
3. There are no maritime specific rules allowing derogation from human rights.
4. All human rights established under treaty and customary international law must be respected at sea.

Related issues under review

  • Human rights’ protections to be applied by Port states.
  • Coastal states and their application of human rights.
  • Flag states’ obligations and responsibilities, particularly in regards to the application of human rights on board vessels.
  • Human rights protections on the High Seas (International waters).
  • Violations of non-derogable human rights at sea.
  • The role(s) of International Organisations as well as of other non-state actors in the protection of human rights at sea.
  • Human rights at sea and Business and Human Rights instrument development and application.
  • Labour rights under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006.
  • Extraterritorial Jurisdiction -Effective control over people in distress at sea.
  • State and non-state actor responsibilities in Search and Rescue (SAR) Zones.

The development of the Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea is ongoing with revisions to the Version 1 draft continuing and expanding to include a commentary, evidence of need and a commercial legal review to be undertaken by a non-partisan grouping of international law firms specialising in maritime law.

Anastasia Papapetrou is supporting the programme’s co-ordination.




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