Press Release

Tuesday 23 November 2021

LONDON. UK. Human Rights at Sea is delighted to introduce its  7th Annual Report which reflects global impact and showcases the strides the UK-based charitable NGO has made to raise international awareness of human rights abuses at sea and deliver social justice through legal and policy development since 2014.

The past year has been extraordinary for everyone, but for those people living, working, and transiting at sea the COVID-19 pandemic has made a desperate situation worse.

From those who have been abandoned in foreign ports with no means of repatriation due to lockdowns and restrictions of movement, to those who have suffered from diminished oversight and have been forced to work in abusive conditions, to those not paid owed wages, their personal situations have become desperate.

To the surge in migrants embarking on perilous sea journeys and the increased profiling and exposure of serious sexual offences towards victims at sea, Human Rights at Sea has responded to urgent requests for help, challenged cases, and driven social change with its partners.

Our investigations, publications, and case studies have raised international awareness around the immediate danger of vulnerable groups who are subject to abuse. Our responsive work has been combined with focused advocacy and lobbying initiatives to ensure that the human rights of all people at sea are not forgotten.

We are proud to announce that this year marked a historic milestone for our charity by setting a new precedent for the update to primary legislation in New Zealand following a successful advocacy campaign for the application of maritime levy funds to sustainably fund seafarer welfare centres. We were delighted to have supported the New Zealand Seafarers’ Welfare Board at their request.

The change in legislation will affect 10 ports in New Zealand which annually receive an average of 129,150 seafarers, and it is our biggest impact to date. As we move ahead, our team are dedicating efforts to repeating this legal reform in Australia and further afield.

Despite this success, we remain realistic about the challenges continuing to face people at sea. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fragility of the maritime sector and the need to catalyse global attention and action at state policy and legislative level.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who makes the work of Human Rights at Sea possible through their generous support; financial or otherwise, and without which our efforts would not be possible.

In the next 12 months we have set challenging fundraising targets to scale up our international advocacy programmes, and we hope that those reading this today will consider supporting us to continue our drive so that human rights apply at sea, as they do on land.

Human Rights at Sea will continue dedicating our efforts to delivering this for the victims, their families, their communities, and the international community as a whole.

Our Vision remains clear; to end human rights abuse at sea.

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