Introducing the new independent international maritime initiative “Human Rights at Sea” (HRAS) from the Maritime Practice of 9 Bedford Row International, London, as a human rights on-line information, and lobbying platform. It will support human rights integration into State, business and individual working practices, as well as promote the wider application of human rights throughout the maritime domain.
The founding principle of HRAS is that “Human Rights apply at sea, as
equally as they do on land”1.
The HRAS initiative aim is to raise the profile, awareness, implementation and
accountability for human rights protections, throughout the maritime industry
and especially where they are currently absent.
The HRAS initiative seeks to be complementary to existing applicable
Conventions, established soft-law and other human rights initiatives. It is
scheduled to have an implementation period spanning 18 months from launch.
The HRAS initiative will be internationally distributed and promoted by “Supporting Entities” and “Collaborative Partnerships” from across the maritime industry, academia and through working alongside existing projects led by civil society NGOs.
HRAS is a functional area of business that has yet to be subject to
independent regulation for the maritime industry by the international
High standards reflecting human rights protections, assurance and
accountability should be part of everyday business. They also go to assuring
market reputation and brand protection in neither ignoring, nor paying lip
service to human rights matters. This process should occur through
integrating business and human rights structures within State National Action
Plans (NAP), corporate business plans and supporting policies through
human rights training, policy development, practical implementation, reporting
systems with access to remedies for breaches.
The main commercial focus of the HRAS initiative is based upon the use of
the voluntary UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights,
otherwise known as the “Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework”
developed by the UN (2005-2011) and adopted unanimously in June 2011.
The UK Government adopted the UN Guiding Principles in September 2013
as part of the UK NAP for business and human rights. It was the first State to
do so internationally. In the UK, the NAP applies to the maritime industry as
equally as it does to other areas of national commerce.
Of equal importance, the HRAS initiative is concurrently developing distinct work areas that aim to review and further independently develop issues such as “Children’s Rights at Sea”, the application of maritime human rights in West Africa and a “Maritime Implementing Framework” for the UN Guiding
Principles, alongside international Collaborative Partners. Further work areas
are envisaged as international entities become increasingly aware of the
HRAS initiative and it’s international web platform.
The HRAS initiative is a vanguard maritime initiative and it is a work-inprogress.
It will deliver balanced and independent documentary products and
projects through international stakeholder support. Entities wishing to become
either a “Supporting Entity” or a “Collaborative Partner” should apply through
1 David Hammond, Barrister, London International Shipping Week, 11 September 2013.