International Maritime Organization Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez recently outlined the organisation's "fresh agenda" and commitment to creating a safer, more secure, and environmentally friendly shipping industry. 

In his address, Mr Dominguez underscored the global significance of shipping and expressed a dedicated focus on making the organisation more diverse, inclusive, and transparent, saying, "One thing I am very focused on is to make this Organization a more diverse, inclusive and transparent institution." 

Our charity applauds this commitment and stands firmly with the Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea (GDHRAS), ready to collaborate and turn these words into actionable steps towards a more ethical and sustainable maritime future. 

Ethical Framework for Human Rights

The IMO's mission to regulate international shipping aligns seamlessly with the ethical framework of the GDHRAS. This soft law instrument prioritises human rights, providing a robust foundation for creating a maritime industry that values the well-being and dignity of all individuals.

Reinforcing Inclusivity and Equity

The IMO's commitment to supporting Member States, particularly Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), echoes with the GDHRAS. The Declaration promotes equity in the maritime sector by reinforcing inclusivity and supporting vulnerable populations, ensuring a fair and just industry for all.

Showcasing Commitment to Human Rights

The IMO's goal to improve public awareness and enhance the image of the maritime industry is reinforced through the adoption of the GDHRAS. This Declaration showcases the maritime sector's dedication to human rights, fostering transparency and strengthening public trust in the industry.

Fostering Ethical Practices

Strengthening ties with people and stakeholders is a key focus for the IMO, and the GDHRAS complements this effort. By emphasising ethical practices, the Declaration enhances the IMO's commitment to transparent and inclusive dialogue with all relevant parties, fostering a collaborative approach to addressing challenges in the maritime sector.

Arsenio Dominguez addressing the press

A Robust Framework for Seafarer Safety Well-being

The IMO's commitment to protecting seafarers' lives, particularly amidst ongoing attacks in the Red Sea, aligns with the GDHRAS. The Declaration provides a robust framework for ensuring seafarers' safety and well-being, emphasising the importance of their rights in challenging circumstances.

Balancing Sustainability and Human Rights

The IMO's active efforts towards decarbonising shipping by 2050 are complemented by the GDHRAS. By ensuring that sustainability goals align with human rights principles, the Declaration supports a balanced approach to environmental stewardship in the maritime sector.

Supporting Transparency, Diversity, and Inclusion

The IMO emphasised transparency, diversity, and inclusion in its operations. The Declaration provides a roadmap for fostering transparency, diversity, and inclusion in the maritime industry, aligning with the IMO's commitment to these crucial principles.

Call to Action

The Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea serves as a unifying force capable of guiding the maritime industry towards an ethical, inclusive, and sustainable future. 

Back in July 2023, Mr Dominguez said, "I'm not afraid of disrupting things a little bit to actually get change"

We believe in the power of change and look forward to working with the IMO, to bring about positive transformations for a maritime industry that prioritises both environmental and human sustainability. 

Click here to support our work and contribute to lasting change in the maritime industry and help end human rights abuses at sea. 

Contact: If you have any questions, please write to us at

About Sharing. We welcome the use and dissemination of our work with proper accreditation. Please ensure that our Terms of Use are conformed with at all times.

Photo credit: International Maritime Organization