Human Rights at Sea as an international concept and on-line platform 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, he previously ran an independent international legal practice as a self-employed Barrister-at-Law based in London 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 his role as a Royal Navy barrister. In 2011, following retirement from Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, he was instructed as Head Legal of the EU ‘NESTOR’ Counter-Piracy Technical Assessment Mission to East Africa where he conceived, established 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.
Recent publications delivered by the charity are ‘Managing Traumatic Stress‘ published by The Nautical Institute, ‘Remaining Resilient after Traumatic Events‘ and ‘Flag States and Human Rights’, as well new maritime human rights educational films, investigatory reports and case studies on seafarer abandonment, deaths at sea of fisheries inspectors in the Pacific and Family Impact Statements of affected families who have suffered loss.
Between 2015-2017, David led the International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law training programme for the EU Training Mission in Mali on behalf of the UK Government as a non-practising barrister, while concurrently running the charity in his spare time backed by a support team both 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 and used 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 September 2017, David stood down as CEO of Human Rights at Sea to become a Trustee, and took up a Geneva-based short-term role as Executive Director to a private Swiss Foundation eliminating child labour in agriculture to assist the organisation to further professionalise and increase its global impact.
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