(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) This report from "Human Rights at Sea" aims to explicitly raise awareness, implementation and accountability of human rights provisions throughout the maritime environment, especially where they are currently absent, ignored, or being abused.
The past year has been extraordinary for everyone, but for those people living, working, and transiting at sea the COVID-19 pandemic has made a desperate situation worse.
From those who have been abandoned in foreign ports with no means of repatriation due to lockdowns and restrictions of movement, to those who have suffered from diminished oversight and have been forced to work in abusive conditions, to those not paid owed wages, their personal situations have become desperate.
To the surge in migrants embarking on perilous sea journeys and the increased profiling and exposure of serious sexual offences towards victims at sea, Human Rights at Sea has responded to urgent requests for help, challenged cases, and driven social change with its partners.
The investigations, publications, and case studies have raised international awareness around the immediate danger of vulnerable groups who are subject to abuse. Responsive work has been combined with focused advocacy and lobbying initiatives to ensure that the human rights of all people at sea are not forgotten.
Human Rights at Sea is proud to announce that this year marked a historic milestone for their charity by setting a new precedent for the update to primary legislation in New Zealand following a successful advocacy campaign for the application of maritime levy funds to sustainably fund seafarer welfare centres. They were delighted to have supported the New Zealand Seafarers’ Welfare Board at their request.
The change in legislation will affect 10 ports in New Zealand which annually receive an average of 129,150 seafarers, and it is their biggest impact to date. As we move ahead, the team is dedicating efforts to repeating this legal reform in Australia and further afield.
Despite this success, they remain realistic about the challenges continuing to face people at sea. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fragility of the maritime sector and the need to catalyse global attention and action at state policy and legislative level.
Human Rights at Sea would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who makes the work of Human Rights at Sea possible through their generous support; financial or otherwise, and without which their efforts would not be possible.
In the next 12 months they have set challenging fundraising targets to scale up their international advocacy programmes, and they hope that those reading this today will consider supporting them to continue their drive so that human rights apply at sea, as on land.
Human Rights at Sea will continue dedicating our efforts to delivering this for the victims, their families, their communities, and the international community as a whole.
The Organisation objectives
To promote human rights (as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent United Nations conventions and declarations) for seafarers, fishermen and others involved in working at sea throughout the world by all or any of the following means:
- Increasing global awareness of the explicit requirement for protection of, respect for and provision of effective remedies for human rights abuses at sea through international advocacy, the publishing of case studies and where applicable, the provision of teaching materials.
- Contributing to the international development of effective, enforceable and accountable remedies for human rights abuses at sea.
- Investigating and monitoring abuses of Human Rights at Sea.
- Developing the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights in the maritime environment.
- Commenting on and supporting proposed national and international human rights legislation, policies and best practice, where applicable.
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Source: Human Rights at Sea