Human Rights at Sea is pleased to announce the appointment of Matthew Vickers as the new Chair of Trustees. Matthew succeeds Fiona Laurence after her eight years of dedicated service at the organisation's helm since its inception in 2014

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Matthew Vickers

Matthew has been a Trustee since April 2020 and is currently CEO and Chief Ombudsman at Ombudsman Services (OS). He has previously held positions at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he served as a British Consul in Spain. His early career was in the private sector across retail and FMCG. He completed a doctorate in the history of Victorian and Edwardian Liverpool at the University of Oxford and has previously held non-executive roles at Museums and Galleries Scotland and the Scottish Mediation Network.

The Board are delighted to welcome Matthew as Chair, and they are in no doubt that his leadership, passion, and expertise will enhance the impact that Human Rights at Sea has while ensuring we diligently continue to bring about lasting change and eradicate human rights abuses at sea.

 Matthew said, "Human rights do not disappear out of sight of land, but abuses and failures to uphold the rule of law are too often hidden from view. The Geneva Declaration on Human Rights, holding flag, port and coastal states to account and highlighting systemic cases of abuse have been significant achievements for Human Rights at Sea in setting and shaping the agenda. The charity has a strong foundation and a respected and ever more influential voice for good.”

The Board would like to express their sincerest thanks to Fiona, whose counsel and dedication as both a Trustee and Chair has been instrumental in shaping and developing Human Rights at Sea into a civil society global leader in its field. It has been both a pleasure and an honour to work alongside her. 

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Fiona Laurence

Fiona commented, "I have been honoured to be part of HRAS as a Trustee and Chair of Trustees and have seen the Charity go from small beginnings to one with international reach and influence. Whilst much has been accomplished, the work of the Charity remains as urgent and vital as ever. With Matthew Vickers taking over the role of Chair, the Charity is in excellent hands, and I am certain that the Charity will continue to have a major impact in reducing human rights abuses at sea." 

 David Hammond, CEO, said,

"From an exploratory coffee in central London in 2014 for the floating of an idea of a new human rights NGO and all along the twisting path to where we are today, Fiona has been there for us. We are enormously grateful for the long hours spent supporting our development and Fiona's unwavering and steady advice at every stage. We wish her all the very best with her next roles and trusteeship."