Dr Natalie Klein, Trustee at Human Rights at Sea, has published an article on the Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea: An Endeavor to Connect Law of the Sea and International Human Rights Law with Ocean Development and International Law in her capacity as Professor of Law and Justice at The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. 

The article highlights the contents of the The Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea (GDHRAS) and explores its background, alignment with existing laws and potential contribution to existing legal protections. 

Dr Natalie Klein said: “Part of the reason for the lack of protection of human rights at sea is an apparent disconnect between human rights law and the law of the sea. Human rights law has traditionally focused on land-based activities where there is relative clarity as to which state has responsibility to uphold human rights. Moreover, human rights violations on land have usually been easier to detect and expose, and mechanisms are more likely to exist to seek redress for those violations.”
The Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea (GDHRAS) was launched on 1 March 2022 by Human Rights at Sea in response to an unquestionable need to prevent human rights abuses at sea and is structured around four fundamental principles: 
1.           Human rights at sea are universal; they apply at sea, as they do on land.
2.           All persons at sea, without any distinction, are entitled to their human rights.
3.           There are no maritime specific reasons for denying human rights at sea.
4.           All human rights established under both treaty and customary international law must be respected at sea.

The GDHRAS public consultation concluded on 1 September 2022. Human Rights at Sea are grateful for the comments and responses it received. No changes to the text were proposed, and as such, the Declaration is now final. 

We are incredibly grateful to the drafting team who have supported the development of the Declaration. We would also like to thank Norton Rose Fulbright, HFW, DLA Piper, and Reed Smith, some of the world’s leading law firms, for their review.

For far too long, the sea has been a space where those who want to abuse the human rights of people are allowed to do so freely and without consequence. The Declaration will help to stop that and reinforce the HRAS vision to end human rights abuse at sea.

We look forward to continuing the advocacy for its adoption with individual states and at the UN.

Contact: If you have any questions, please write to us at enquiries@humanrightsatsea.org

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