Law of the Sea

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The First Parliamentary Debate on Human Rights at Sea: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

On Tuesday, 22 June 2021, the House of Lords debated for the first time the steps the UK has taken to protect human rights at sea. The debate was initiated by an oral question raised by Lord Teverson of Tregony who has been acting as Patron of the UK-based charity Human Rights at Sea. The founder and CEO of the charity, David Hammond, characterised the debate as ‘historic’ and underlined that “the public conversation has begun to mainstream ‘human rights at sea’”. Undoubtedly, the debate gave prominence to the protection of human rights at sea, a topic that continues to gather momentum in the scholarly debate (Papanicolopulu, 2018; Galani, 2020; Haines, 2021) and in practice (UNODC, The Geneva Declaration of Human Rights at Sea). Indeed, the time was ripe for such a debate in the UK, but a closer look at the responses of the UK Government could leave…

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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…

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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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