RightShip and Human Rights at Sea Join Forces

abandoned seafarers
abandoned seafarers

Published Apr 7, 2020 6:35 PM by The Maritime Executive

Maritime Risk company RightShip and the independent civil society charity Human Rights at Sea have signed a long-term partnership agreement to help improve seafarer welfare. 

Under the agreement, RightShip and Human Rights at Sea will partner to continuously raise awareness of the implementation and accountability of human rights provisions throughout the maritime environment with local, national and international stakeholders and regulators.

Human Rights at Sea was established to engage stakeholders in the improvement of human rights policies, particularly where existing provisions are being ignored or being abused. The charity currently works with numerous partner charities, government departments and non-governmental organizations. RightShip is the first commercial maritime industry organization to officially engage with the charity.

In 2019, Human Rights at Sea launched the first version of the Geneva Declaration of Human Rights at Sea, which is currently focusing on State-level engagement and eventual ratification within the United Nations system. Once finalized, Human Rights at Sea and RightShip will mobilize a concerted international effort to end human rights abuses at sea through reference to, and engagement with, the four fundamental principles of the Declaration.

These principles are that human rights apply at sea to exactly the same degree and extent that they do on land; that all persons at sea, without any distinction, enjoy human rights; that there are no maritime-specific rules allowing derogation from human rights standards; and that all human rights established under treaty and customary international law must be respected at sea.

Human Rights at Sea believes that the current application of human rights in the maritime environment for seafarers and fishermen often occurs through implied use at best and avoidance at worst. The charity says this is unacceptable for such a fundamental issue and that abuses occur where individuals fail to identify, notify and rectify failures in the protection of an individual’s human rights, or otherwise turn a blind eye to issues and incidents because of a lack of awareness, training or moral courage: “Abuses occur when good people turn a blind eye to bad things.”

The charity has produced a series of educational videos.