8 July 2021
London. UK. / Paris. France. On 8 June 2021, on the occasion of this year’s United Nations World Oceans Day with the theme of: “Ocean: Life and Livelihoods”, Human Rights at Sea and global law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP held a webinar entitled “Confronting the Human Rights Crisis in Fisheries: How Arbitration Can Improve Fishers’ Access to Justice”, which is now available to view and download.
The Webinar considered how an arbitration-based mechanism, giving victims of human rights abuses at sea a direct right of claim against the responsible party, could promote the protection of human rights in fisheries. The arbitration mechanism at the focus of this discussion is also the cornerstone of the ongoing Human Rights at Sea Arbitration Project, also led by Human Rights at Sea and Shearman & Sterling, and now in its second year – www.hrasarb.com
The topics discussed by the panellists included: (i) first-hand accounts of slavery, human trafficking, and other abuses in fisheries; (ii) obstacles faced by victims of human rights abuses in fisheries when issuing complaints; (iii) the collection of evidence for human rights investigations and its challenges; and (iv) whether international arbitration and other non-legislative pathways can succeed in improving access to justice for human rights victims in fisheries.
The panelists addressing these subjects included academics, legal counsel, sustainability leaders, and business professionals who are experts in their respective fields (human trafficking, forced labour, and modern slavery, human rights law, shipping law, international arbitration, corporate sustainability, seafood processing and supply chain management).
David Hammond, Esq., CEO, Human Rights at Sea, provided introductory comments and opened the discussion between Professor Parosha Chandran, Professor of Practice in Modern Slavery Law in The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London and barrister at One Pump Court; Ana Maria Soto, Regional Empowerment Program Manager for the Issara Institute; Richard Stavis, former Chief Sustainability Officer, Stavis Seafoods and consultant; John Burton, CEO World Wise Foods, and Dr. Elizabeth Mavropoulou, Programme Manager, Human Rights at Sea. Alex Marcopoulos, Counsel, Shearman & Sterling, moderated the discussion.