Law of the Sea

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Drowning Migrants in the Mediterranean and the ICCPR, Again

Last week 130 migrants perished off the coast of Libya, as their rubber boat capsized in the stormy Mediterranean. Some 750 migrants have died this year in trying to make the crossing. (See here for the IOM report, and here and here for the recent posts we had on this topic by Guy Goodwin-Gill, and Niamh Keady-Tabbal and Itamar Mann). There is little I can usefully add here in discussing a human tragedy such as this one – again, again and again. But I was particularly struck by the following passage from the Guardian’s report on the incident, in light of the Human Rights Committee’s recent decisions regarding Italy and Malta and the extraterritorial application of the duty to protect life under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: [The NGO] Alarm Phone said: “The people could have been rescued but all authorities knowingly left them…

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Drowning in the Mediterranean: Time to think and act regionally

Europe, that is, the EU and its institutions, currently asserts the right to manage the movement of people across the Mediterranean, and with that comes responsibility, for special protection is owed to those whom it would manage. ‘Responsibility’ is multi-dimensional. Fault, in the sense of wilful or negligent conduct, may be relevant; or responsibility may follow from the…

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Drowning Migrants, the Human Rights Committee, and Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations

In this post I will analyse more extensively the two decisions of the UN Human Rights Committee that I flagged previously (A.S. and others v. Malta, CCPR/C/128/D/3043/2017 ; A.S. and others v. Italy, CCPR/C/130/DR/3042/2017), dealing with the failure of Malta and Italy to rescue a group of more than 200…

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Pandemics, Procedure and Participation: Hybrid Hearings in the Mauritius/Maldives Maritime Boundary Dispute

Introduction On 28 January 2021, an ITLOS Special Chamber delivered its Judgment on Preliminary Objections in the Dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius/Maldives, PO Judgment). This progressive judgment has stirred rich academic debate, including Thin’s contribution on the legal effect of soft law…

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Rocks in the Law of the Sea: Some comments on the South China Sea Arbitration Award

Article 121(2) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (the Convention) stipulates that “the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf of an island are determined in accordance with the provisions of this Convention applicable to other land territory.” According to the International Court of Justice, this rule has…

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