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Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea receives Europeche endorsement

During the recent 19 November 2020 webinar covering the latest updates in respect of the ILO Work in Fishing (C188) Convention, Ment van der Zwan, employers’ spokesman in the EU social dialogue committee on sea-fisheries for Europeche highlighted the need to reflect the four fundamental principles of the Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea.

Conceived in March 2019 with the aim of to establish a new soft-law instrument bringing together and detailing all applicable international law which applies in the maritime space in defence of fundamental human rights at sea, the Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea reflects existing law and looks to explore its practical application throughout the maritime environment.

The Four Principles

The effective protection of human rights at sea rest on four fundamental principles:
1. Human rights apply at sea to exactly the same degree and extent that they do on land.
2. All persons at sea, without any distinction, are entitled to their human rights.
3. There are no maritime specific rules allowing derogation from human rights.
4. All human rights established under treaty and customary international law must be respected at sea.

Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea – Soft Law development Version 1: 5 April 2019

There is a profound need for the concept of ‘Human Rights at Sea’ to be accepted globally.  The principal aim of this Declaration is to raise global awareness of the abuse of human rights at sea and to mobilise a concerted international effort to put an end to it.

The webinar was organised by the European Social Partners in the Sea Fisheries Sector (ETF and Europêche) where the stakeholders considered the Convention’s value in ensuring effective protection of the rights of fishers at global level.

The event was also organised in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the European Commission and representatives of fishing nations such as France, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom.

In conclusion, the panellists widely called for the ratification and implementation of the ILO C188 and its EU equivalent, EU Directive 2017/159, by addressing the barriers and the benefits of implementing the social standards established in the C188 for the protection of workers.

Watch the webinar here.

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