Founded by David Hammond in 2013, Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) has evolved into a global force for justice, shaping policy, and raising awareness for all individuals living, working and moving on the world's seas and oceans. Over the past ten years, our impact has been undeniable.

A Decade of Impact

From pioneering legal cases to supporting survivors, HRAS has empowered individuals and established critical precedents. Our advocacy efforts have brought international attention to human rights violations at sea, sparking critical conversations and influencing policy shifts. 

In 2022, we published the landmark Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea (GDHRAS) and provided a roadmap for protecting the rights of all at sea, earning widespread recognition and support. Then, in early 2023, we secured UN ECOSOC status, solidifying our leading role in the global human rights landscape.

After ten years as CEO, David Hammond has decided to step down from his role at HRAS and will now lead Human Rights at Sea International, focusing on consultancy, training and investigative work, further expanding the impact of the human rights at sea movement.

David said, “It has been an incredible transformational journey so far, and my professional drive in further developing human rights impact means this next step is one I am relishing. Personally, this is a natural pathway to continuing to influence positive change wherever it is required, and I wish the trustees the very best in navigating the NGO forward to even higher levels of impact."

Focus and Collaboration

HRAS will dedicate its resources to securing the widespread adoption of the Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea. This deliberate focus reflects our conviction that the Declaration holds the key to unlocking significant and lasting change for all at sea.

As the organisation's future takes shape, our Trustees look forward to working collaboratively with partners – governments, NGOs, industry leaders, and individual champions – to promote the GDHRAS and build a future where human rights are respected and protected at sea as on land.

Matthew Vickers, Chair of Trustees, said: "On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to express our profound gratitude to David for his unwavering dedication to the human rights at sea cause. His tireless efforts have shaped HRAS into the impactful force it is today. David will always be both the Founder and a friend to our organisation.

The last few years have showcased the immense strength, flexibility, and resilience of HRAS, thanks to the incredible contributions of our volunteers, partners, and dedicated professionals. As we navigate this transformative milestone, we stand poised to champion the Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea and solidify our commitment to safeguarding human rights on the high seas."

Our Patron Lord Teverson added: "David's commitment to human rights at sea has left a lasting mark, shaping not only the lives of countless individuals but also the global conversation on maritime injustice. The House of Lords event in the summer showcased how influential and impactful the charity has become. As HRAS enters into this new chapter, I am confident that its commitment and dedication will ensure the continued success in safeguarding the rights of those at sea."

Looking Forward

Human Rights at Sea remains dedicated to advocating for all people at sea and championing effective laws and policies to protect all individuals, no matter where they are or where they are from, with the determined belief that, together, we can make a difference.

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