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Watch: Human Rights at Sea Call to Action

By MarEx 2016-10-02 18:04:10

Videos of some of the speakers at the International Maritime Human Rights Conference 2016 last month have now been released. 

Titled: “Respect, Responsibility and Remedy in the Maritime Environment” it was the first time that such an event had occurred and where stakeholders from across the entire maritime space, commerce and civil society came together to outline their respective work, concerns and aspirations in relation to acknowledging and dealing with ongoing human rights abuses in the maritime environment.

The event was organized by David Hammond, CEO Human Rights at Sea who issued a call to action that there should be: “application of human rights throughout the maritime environment at all times without exception.”

Examples of the diverse nature and wide-ranging experience of the speakers included:

George Tsavliris of Tsavliris Salvage said that “Respecting human rights is not a tick-in-the-box exercise” and that is was the “right thing to do” while always “maintaining a code of ethics” within a company structure.

Captain Kuba Szymanski of InterManager stated that authorities should “stop criminalising us” in relation to the increasing trend to criminal seafarers for their actions and also noted that “99 percent of the shipping industry is not bad, it is excellent”. He also pressed the point that seafarers were human beings.

On behalf of Ment van der Zwan of the Dutch Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association and FISH-Platform, Cor Blonk of the Dutch Ship Owners Association for Pelagic Fisheries read a letter to the delegates where he stated that while there were “1.5 million seafarers” there were “35 million active fishers.” Most notably he commented that: “Fish and fish stocks are better protected than fishers” and that “most of the indispensable standards in relation to human rights are not in force.”

Peter Sweetnam, CEO of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) commented that for many migrants rescued at sea by NGOs it was: “Treating them, sometimes for the first time, as human beings.” This resonated with the hard-hitting opening film titled “The Dead Sea” partly funded by Human Rights at Sea and which detailed the abuse and torture of migrants passing through a Libyan detention centre based on factual testimony.