Law of the Sea

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Russia’s Blockade in the Sea of Azov: A Call for Relief Shipments for Mariupol

On 24 February 2022, the Russian Federation launched an invasion of Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians have no possibility to evacuate from besieged cities of eastern Ukraine as the humanitarian corridors are not functioning (see here). According to media reports, the worst humanitarian situation right now is found in the port city of Mariupol which has a strategic location on the coast of the Sea of Azov separating the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula from the Russian-controlled breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Mariupol’s population of over 400 000 is subjected to constant shelling that has caused a humanitarian crisis. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spokesperson, the situation in Mariupol is ‘apocalyptic’. In this context, this blog post debates Russia’s blockade in the Sea of Azov and the obligation to allow free passage of foodstuffs and other essential supplies to the Port of Mariupol.

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Can Turkey Close the Turkish Straits to Russian Warships?

Following the recent Russian military intervention in Ukraine, Ukraine officially requested Turkey to shut the Turkish Straits to warships pursuant to the 1936 Montreux Convention. While the initial reaction of the Turkish government implied the unwillingness of Ankara, the President of Ukraine put further pressure on Turkey to close…

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Splashing down the International Space Station in the Pacific Ocean: Safe Disposal or Trashing the Ocean Commons?

The International Space Station (ISS) is reaching its end of life and will need to be disposed of. NASA plans to do so by de-orbiting the ISS and sinking it into a particular area of the Pacific Ocean known as Point Nemo (named after Captain Nemo, the famous character in the novel Twenty Thousand Leagues…

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UK UNCLOS Inquiry: Is UNCLOS Fit for Protecting Human Rights at Sea? A Comment

One of the most contemporary challenges international law is facing today is protecting, monitoring, and enforcing human rights at sea. A recently launched House of Lords Inquiry in the United Kingdom examining the UNCLOS applicability in the 21st century is asking amongst other questions, how to address the contemporary challenge of monitoring and enforcing human rights law…

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Beyond COP26: Time for an Advisory Opinion on Climate Change?

The recent Glasgow Climate Change Conference (COP26) provided a stark reminder of the gap between states’ planned greenhouse emission reductions and the global temperature goal enshrined in the Paris Agreement. The conference also dramatically showcased once more the plight of vulnerable nations faced with the devastating impacts of rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

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