Human Rights at Sea was officially founded on 3 April 2014 by David Hammond, a non-practising English Barrister, former military seafarer and retired Royal Marines’ Officer. He has practical maritime operator and legal-related experience, and he has variously served at sea in the North and South Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean Arabian Gulf and South China Seas since he first joined the Royal Navy at 18 years old.

When Human Rights at Sea became a Registered Charity in England and Wales in 2015, David stepped up to be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He is an advocate for the on-going international development, advocacy and drive for the explicit codification of the concept of ‘Human Rights at Sea’ throughout the maritime environment.

Separately, David previously ran an independent international legal practice as a self-employed Barrister-at-Law where he focused on public international, human rights, maritime and criminal law matters.

David conceived and authored the Khor Abd Allah Waterway (KAA) Protocols adopted by Kuwait and Iraqi in 2008 which aided the determination of each State’s territorial water limits. In 2011 he was instructed as Head Legal of the EU ‘NESTOR’ Counter-Piracy Technical Assessment Mission to East Africa where he conceived and delivered the on-going EU CAP Somalia Legal Advisory Programme.

In 2013 he authored and published the 100 Series Rules for Use of Force for the maritime and maritime security industries for which he was a finalist for Maritime Lawyer of the Year in the 2013 Lloyds List Awards. Between 2012-2014 he was the instructed UK Counsel to the Libyan National Council for Civil Liberties and Human Rights (NCCLHR) where he conceived and introduced the ‘Declaration for Adoption of Business and Human Rights’ into Libya for the first time on 19 January 2014, and where he represented rape victims in their fight for justice.

Through the charity in 2015, David co-authored the first international guidance on the ‘Deprivation of Liberty at Sea’ for suspected criminals, funded by the EU. In partnership with Marlins, David co-delivered the 2015 ‘Humanitarian Response‘ e-learning course for the maritime industry dealing with refugees and migrants. He has additionally published the first introductory commentary on the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the Maritime Environment, and participated in the Ethics Advisory Board for the World Maritime University’s PROMERC (Protection Measures for Merchant Ships) project. The latest publications delivered by the charity are ‘Managing Traumatic Stress‘ published by The Nautical Institute and ‘Remaining Resilient after Traumatic Events‘, as well new investigatory case study reports into seafarer abandonment.

Between 2015-2017 he led the International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law training programme for the EU Training Mission in Mali as a non-practising barrister while running the charity in his spare time backed by a small team in the UK and abroad. David was also a judge for the 2016 Lloyds List Global Awards for the maritime industry.

David’s international advisory work has been recognised by the UK Government, the UN and European institutions. His work has been quoted by, and he has presented in the European Parliament. He has published and co-authored numerous human rights publications and has been instructed in leading legal and advisory roles for European Union Missions around the world.

In October 2017, David stepped up to be a Trustee of the charity having accepted the appointment to be the Executive Director of the independent Swiss Foundation for Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing (ECLT) where he is responsible for the transformation, delivery and increased impact of the Foundation’s work, globally.