Human Rights at Sea: Rape at Sea, Flag State jurisdiction and the Search for Justice


From Human Rights at Sea:

London. UK. The alleged rape of a 17-year-old female UK national on the Panamanian flagged cruise ship MSC Divina as the ship sailed between Mallorca and the Spanish port of Valencia, brings to the forefront the issue of justice for victims of criminal acts at sea in international waters when under flag State jurisdiction as a matter of ocean governance. Addressing abuses of human rights at sea with effective judicial intervention resulting in effective remedy for victims must be at the forefront of any flag State’s priorities, policies and which should be undertaken in a transparent manner.

It will now be for the Panamanian authorities to respond, and which Human Rights at Sea will closely monitor. This issue is also being addressed in the new Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea, with this incident further reinforcing the need for such a document, and the clear understanding of flag State responsibilities at sea, in law.

Click the link below to access the full story and to download a copy of the new Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea (Version 1: 5 April 2019):


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