‘The International Maritime Human Rights conference will provide a further forum to address the whole range of issues connected with human rights at sea and to ensure that hidden exploitation and abuse is clearly brought into the light. More than that, we hope it will lead to renewed commitment and concrete steps towards further significant improvement.‘
In the countdown to the first International Maritime Human Rights conference, the Revd Andrew Wright, Secretary General of The Mission to Seafarers and a member of the event’s Advisory Board, acknowledges that much progress has been made on the issue of crew welfare – but there is still much work to be done to protect and support the rights of those who work in the maritime environment.
‘The Mission to Seafarers supports all effort focused on promoting human rights at sea. From its foundation 160 years ago, it has been integrally involved in highlighting injustice and in working to ensure the protection and well-being of seafarers across the world, often in partnership with others.
‘It has been witness to many dramatic improvements over those years and is glad to have played some part in the processes that have led to positive change. Many ships and shipping companies operate to high standards and place a strong emphasis on crew welfare. However, Mission teams, especially in some parts of the world, still regularly come across cases of serious concern.
‘It remains the case that life at sea can be hidden, making exploitation an ever-present possibility for unscrupulous companies or individuals. An enhanced framework of legal protection has played a significant role in the advancement of human rights at sea and has supported relevant authorities as well as welfare organisations in taking issues forward.
‘In some places, however, the impact of change has been less pronounced and within some sectors, fishing amongst them, legal protection remains minimal and there is abundant evidence, including from Mission personnel, of a serious shortfall in basic standards of welfare, support and care.
‘In that context, The Mission to Seafarers welcomes this conference. It will provide a further forum to address the whole range of issues connected with human rights at sea and to ensure that hidden exploitation and abuse is clearly brought into the light. More than that, we hope it will lead to renewed commitment and concrete steps towards further significant improvement.‘
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