The International Law Association (ILA) has taken a significant step forward by assembling a global team of experts to tackle the urgent issue of safeguarding individuals at sea, with a specific focus on upholding their human rights. 

As global attention increasingly turns towards the plight of individuals at sea, the establishment of the ILA Committee on the Protection of People at Sea represents a significant milestone in addressing this critical issue. 

Leaders in Action

Championed by Dr Natalie Klein from Australia, HRAS Expert Panel member Dr Anna Petrig from Switzerland, and Professor Irini Papanicolopulu from Italy, the committee represents a collaborative effort to confront the challenges faced by the millions of men, women, and children present at sea. 

Among the key topics discussed were the intricate notions of jurisdiction under human rights law and the law of the sea and how these concepts can be leveraged to maximise protection for individuals at sea.

Commenting on the significance of the committee's work, HRAS Trustee Professor Steven Haines, who attended the meeting, emphasised the pressing need to "address the jurisdictional vacuum concerning human rights at sea."

Advocacy for Change

Given the staggering number of around 30 million individuals navigating the high seas at any given time, it is crucial to ensure their rights and safety. However, the current legal framework often falls short of providing adequate protection. 

This is why we are advocating for the adoption of The Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea (GDHRAS), a comprehensive framework that explicitly outlines the rights of all individuals at sea.

The GDHRAS serves as a guiding beacon, offering practical guidance to states on how to ensure that human rights abuses at sea are detected, remedied, and ultimately ended.

Looking Ahead

The committee's agenda includes producing reports to illustrate the state of the field, engaging in ongoing debates, and issuing recommendations to guide states and key stakeholders in fulfilling their obligations towards people at sea. 

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

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