David Hammond Esq., Founder, Human Rights at Sea

The concept of establishing Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) as a standalone civil society platform explicitly exploring the topic of human rights protections at sea was conceived by David Hammond in early 2013. This followed his international shipping work in 2012 developing the voluntary self-defence ‘100 Series Rules for the Use of Force’ for use by private maritime security companies during the height of the East African Somali piracy attacks on commercial shipping. 

Formally established on 3 April 2014 as a human rights initiative and based on the founding principle that “human rights apply at sea, as they do on land”, the fledgling organisation became a UK-registered charity in May 2015 before evolving its research, advocacy and investigations project work. This included conceiving and developing the Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea now translated into 12 languages with an accompanying Commentary, developing a victim-led arbitration remedy initiative, as well as supporting direct changes in law and policy in over 50 states. 

During his decade’s tenure, David, along with his staff, volunteers and consultants, delivered front-end impact and engagement across shipping, fisheries, migrant and refugee work areas. This included state-level, diplomatic and commercial engagements in and with India, Libya, New Zealand, Kiribati, the US, the Republic of China, Hong Kong, Mail, Somalia, Argentina, Guatemala, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Brussels, Turkey and Ukraine, to name but a few. 

David led the organisation from its inception to December 2023, when he stepped down as the CEO. His leadership culminated in the charity achieving UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) accreditation in December 2022 and being hosted in the House of Lords to mark its 10-year anniversary supported by its Patron, Lord Robin Teverson.

Today, David is the Executive Director of the socially focused standalone not-for-profit organisation Human Rights at Sea International which supports state and non-state entities to meet and exceed their legal obligations and develop best practice by providing paid-for training, consultancy, and advisory services. His vision is to ultimately provide independent philanthropic support to the next generation of civil society start-ups to deliver impactful initiatives thereby further developing improved and accountable human rights protections for all persons living, working and transiting at sea. 

Website:  www.hrasi.org

Contact: david.hammond@hrasi.org

Briefing maritime academy cadets in an air raid shelter. Odesa, Ukraine  October 2023
Briefing maritime academy cadets in an air raid shelter.Odesa, Ukraine October 2023 - Photo credit: Human Rights at Sea