Human Rights at Sea granted UN special consultative status
A ‘gold standard’ status for Human Rights at Sea strengthens the profile of seafarer rights within the UN system
UN Economic and Social Council status elevates the standing of Human Rights at Sea as an NGO dedicated to helping victims of abuse and advocating for more effective laws and policies to protect people at sea
HUMAN Rights at Sea has been granted special consultative status by the UN’s Economic and Social Council, elevating the group’s influence and the profile of seafarer rights within the UN system.
The formal recognition, which comes nine years after the non-governmental organisation was established by barrister David Hammond to advocate for the human rights of all people at sea globally, effectively upgrades HRAS’ status with key United Nations discussions.
Consultative status is given to civil society organisations on the underlying basis that the UN and the international community can benefit from the expertise of those fighting against human rights violations, struggling against climate change and pushing to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
In the NGO world, UN ECOSOC Special Consultative Status is seen as a gold standard badge offering lobbying status and clout within meetings.
On a practical basis it means that HRAS will be able to directly participate in the work of the UN by submitting reports and forming partnerships with governments and the private sector.
The NGO will not, however, automatically be granted consultative status within the International Maritime Organization, which is a UN agency.
To be granted consultative status by the IMO’s Assembly an NGO must demonstrate that it is “truly international” in its membership, “namely that it has a range of members covering a broad geographical scope and, usually, more than one region”.
According to Mr Hammond plan to expand HRAS’ global reach this year should allow the NGO to apply for IMO recognition soon.
“We can quietly celebrate those years of investigations, direct challenges and exposure of abuses at sea with this valuable accreditation,” said Mr Hammond, who stressed that the success of the of the NGO’s achievements to date were the result of to the “tenacity of our staff and volunteers”.
“It has been nearly nine years since Human Rights at Sea opened its doors to raise awareness and prevent, detect and remedy abuses at sea,” said Matthew Vickers, chair of HRAS’s board of trustees. “This is an exciting step in our efforts to join hands with others across the globe to provide long-lasting solutions where it is most needed, and we will seek every opportunity we can to bring our knowledge and expertise to bear on the UN and its subsidiaries' work as part of this prestigious international network.”