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Human rights apply on the high seas…

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David Hammond

David Hammond

The Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) international initiative strongly welcomes  the positive statement made by the President of the Federal Republic of  Germany, President Gauck, today in his opening speech at the annual Berlin symposium on international refugee protection that ‘human rights apply on the  high seas’ and that ‘the high seas are not a lawless area’.

Speaking in Berlin this evening, HRAS founder David Hammond said: “I very much welcome President Gauck’s affirmation of what is the founding principle of the ‘Human Rights at Sea’ initiative that “human rights apply at sea, as equally as they do on land” as applied in the context of ensuring that international attention is increasingly focused on human right’s violations on
the high seas”. !!

Mr. Hammond went on to say that; “one of the reasons the HRAS team is in Berlin, is to further develop our relationship with the German Federal Government, human rights and refugee NGOs and maritime business, in urgently raising the profile of human rights abuses at sea on an international basis”. The statement of President Gauck is an extraordinary encouragement for the HRAS work, especially in Germany.

Mr. Hammond, an English Barrister-at-Law, conceived the HRAS initiative in
early 2014 with the assistance of a team of international experts in public
international law, including human rights and maritime law. This includes a
team headed up by Jens Dieckmann, Attorney at Law, as the German

The initiative is now underpinned by over 30 international ‘Supporting
Entities’, ‘Collaborative Partners’ and a growing network of international
‘Correspondents’ around the world. !!

The Human Rights at Sea initiative is the first independent international
platform which, over a planned ten year period, will develop online resources,
new international collaborative projects, lobby for legislative changes and
provide independent investigations into human right’s abuses in the maritime
environment. This will include issues of trafficking, refugees, slavery, abuses
within the fisheries industry and pioneering development of the UN Guiding
Principles on Business and Human Rights, otherwise known as the “Ruggie

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