UN leaders urge corporations counting on transport provide chains to undertake pressing measures to guard seafarers’ rights

New due diligence software goals to assist companies uphold their duty to guard human rights at sea as new COVID variants threaten to additional delay crew

New York, NY, Could 06, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — UNITED NATIONS, New York, 6 Could 2021 — A large-ranging human rights guidelines has right now been issued to enterprise enterprises engaged with the maritime {industry} to guard seafarers stranded on ships because of new COVID-19 variants and government-imposed journey restrictions, beneath a joint initiative by the UN International Compact, the UN Human Rights Workplace, the Worldwide Labour Group (ILO) and the Worldwide Maritime Group (IMO).

The Human Rights Due Diligence Instrument for cargo house owners and charterers has been issued amid considerations that the variety of crew stranded working past their contracts at sea by COVID-19 restrictions might surge from the present stage of 200,000, probably returning to the height of 400,000 seafarers on the top of the crew change disaster in September 2020. UN businesses hope the brand new steerage will assist be certain that the working circumstances and human rights of seafarers are revered and adjust to worldwide requirements.

The brand new steerage goals to make sure that seafarers have their rights safeguarded in areas equivalent to bodily and psychological well being, entry to household life and freedom of motion. While recognizing the significance of the maritime {industry} in transporting greater than 80% of world commerce items, UN businesses have expressed concern at experiences of seafarers working past the 11-month most restrict of service on board set out by the ILO Maritime Labour Conference (MLC).

The UN businesses have additionally expressed robust concern at experiences that corporations engaged in worldwide commerce are avoiding chartering vessels the place a crew change is due, with some demanding ‘no crew change’ clauses in constitution occasion agreements, stopping wanted crew changeovers and including additional strain on the maritime {industry}. UN businesses have reminded that beneath the UN Guiding Ideas on Enterprise and Human Rights (UNGPs), corporations engaged with the maritime {industry} have a definite duty to respect the human rights of seafarers as employees alongside their worth chain.

The brand new human rights software enhances present industry-led collective motion, such because the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing, which has been signed by greater than 750 corporations. The software goals to offer steerage and a guidelines for cargo house owners, charterers and logistics suppliers to conduct human rights due diligence throughout their provide chains to determine, forestall, mitigate and tackle antagonistic human rights impacts for seafarers impacted by the continued Covid-19 disaster.

Sanda Ojiambo, Govt Director and CEO of the UN International Compact mentioned: “The impression of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fragility of world provide chains as seafarers proceed to endure super, and but largely invisible, hardship and struggling. The maritime {industry} is liable for transporting over 80% of world commerce items and so it should guarantee it builds resilience to future shocks. The psychological and bodily wellbeing of seafarers have to be a precedence and this software is a crucial step in constructing consciousness of methods to tackle human rights abuses within the maritime sector. It sends a strong message of the significance of incorporating maritime employees in due diligence mapping to make sure that antagonistic human rights impacts are recognized, prevented, mitigated and addressed.”

Man Ryder, ILO Director Common, mentioned: “Because the ILO Committee of Specialists mentioned in its basic statement final December, it’s exactly at instances of disaster that the protecting protection of the MLC, 2006, assumes its full significance and must be most scrupulously utilized. That is much more so provided that the Conference accommodates solely minimal requirements for the safety of seafarers’ rights. The ILO has urged Governments to make sure the safety of seafarers’ rights, and welcomes this initiative that can assist companies to play their half on this collective effort”.

Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary Common, mentioned: “Seafarers are on the coronary heart of the worldwide provide chain. They’re additionally on the mercy of COVID-19 restrictions on journey and transit. This has led to lots of of 1000’s of seafarers being denied repatriation, crew modifications, shore depart and in the end being compelled to remain engaged on ships lengthy past their contracts. It’s incumbent on everybody concerned with transport, throughout the complete provide and logistics chain, to make sure seafarers rights are protected. This software is a crucial step ahead, offering a sensible strategy for cargo house owners, charterers and logistic suppliers to think about the human rights of seafarers and guarantee they’re put firstly as they work to ship the products that folks want and need.”

Michele Bachelet, Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights, mentioned: “The COVID-19 seafarer’s crew change disaster has put the spot on one the weakest hyperlinks in international provide chains. That is an pressing and grave humanitarian and human rights disaster that’s impacting the lives of 1000’s of maritime employees. All corporations concerned in international provide chains could also be linked to this disaster. The UN Guiding Ideas on Enterprise and Human Rights require that corporations determine whether or not they’re concerned with the disaster, together with by their enterprise relationships, and take any crucial measure to hunt to handle the scenario.”

Man Platten, Worldwide Chamber of Delivery Secretary Common, mentioned: “The current Suez Canal incident has reminded governments and the markets simply how necessary international transport is to the provision chains. Seafarers are persevering with to work to keep up international commerce by distinctive circumstances, and the Suez incident has solely exacerbated the already dire crew change disaster. Seafarers should not be forgotten now the canal is open once more, and we name on companies to urgently undertake these necessary suggestions.”

Stephen Cotton, Worldwide Transport Employees’ Federation Common Secretary, mentioned: “For much too lengthy, transport has been a human rights blind spot for international manufacturers. Accountable corporations in right now’s world wish to perceive how they or companions of their provide chains could be violating human rights, even inadvertently. That’s why within the midst of the crew change disaster, the launch of this software couldn’t be extra well timed. It spells out precisely the questions that corporations have to ask their suppliers or charterers about what’s occurring to seafarers of their provide chains, and gives worker-led pathways for monitoring and enforcement to treatment any violations or mistreatment.”

The Worldwide Transport Employees’ Federation, the Worldwide Chamber of Delivery, the Institute for Human Rights and Enterprise, the Rafto Basis for Human Rights, and the OECD actively contributed to the event of the software. The software is supported by the Sustainable Delivery Initiative, the World Financial Discussion board, the International Maritime Discussion board, the Moral Buying and selling Initiative, and The Client Items Discussion board, who welcome this key initiative in addressing the Covid-19 crew change disaster.

Managing Director of The Client Items Discussion board, Wai-Chan Chan, mentioned: Wai-Chan Chan, Managing Director of The Client Items Discussion board, mentioned, “The Client Items Discussion board welcomes this new software to urgently assist the protection, well being, and wellbeing of these working at sea. As our Board of Administrators wrote to the UN Secretary-Common final fall, not solely has the Covid-19 disaster disrupted the maritime {industry}’s contribution to international provide chains, however it has additionally inadvertently created a contemporary type of compelled labour. That is an unacceptable scenario and we assist the decision for all actors throughout sectors to work collaboratively and shortly to resolve it.”

Johannah Christensen, Managing Director, Head of Tasks & Programmes, International Maritime Discussion board, mentioned: “We’re witnessing a humanitarian tragedy on the world’s ocean. As one of many architects behind the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change, we welcome the Human Rights Due Diligence Instrument. We name on all stakeholders to work collectively to place an finish to the crew change disaster to guard the 1.6 million seafarers who proceed to face excessive danger to their security and livelihoods.”

Margi Van Gogh, Head of Provide Chain & Transport Industries, World Financial Discussion board: ”This pandemic continues to focus on the central position that transport employees and seafarers play in enabling international commerce and restoration. Provide system resilience requires collaboration throughout the personal and public sector. Such resilience can solely be achieved by assuring the protection, well-being and human rights of these liable for transferring the important items and meals all of us depend on. The Discussion board applauds the collective motion that resulted in improvement of a beneficial steerage software, comprising sensible checklists that cargo house owners, charterers and logistics suppliers can reference to make sure human rights impacts for our seafarers, and certainly all important transport employees are addressed, and future dangers might be mitigated. Maintaining folks and items transferring safely isn’t solely an obligation, it’s important for enterprise continuity and a sustainable international restoration.

Andrew Stephens, Govt Director, Sustainable Delivery Initiative, mentioned: “The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing crew change disaster has highlighted the crucial position that seafarers play within the international economic system, conserving our hospitals, pharmacies, retail and meals chains equipped. On the similar time, it has made clear lots of the labour and human rights dangers for seafarers worldwide. By offering concrete, clear pointers for charterers and cargo house owners, this due diligence software permits transport stakeholders to raised perceive, determine, and tackle the labour and human rights dangers exacerbated because of this disaster, paving the way in which for elevated collaboration and dialogue to handle long-term impacts.”

Peter McAllister, Moral Buying and selling Initiative Govt Director, mentioned: “Seafarers had been initially one of many invisible victims of COVID-19, which shone a light-weight on exploitative practices within the transport {industry}. We’re subsequently more than happy to see the Seafarers Guidelines that has been developed in fast time in session with the Worldwide Transport Employees’ Federation and the Worldwide Chamber of Delivery to assist tackle this case. We urge enterprise to make use of this software to assist enhance the working circumstances for seafarers and underpin a extra sustainable transport {industry}”


In regards to the United Nations International Compact

As a particular initiative of the UN Secretary-Common, the United Nations International Compact is a name to corporations in every single place to align their operations and methods with Ten Ideas within the areas of human rights, labour, atmosphere and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to speed up and scale the worldwide collective impression of enterprise by upholding the Ten Ideas and delivering the Sustainable Improvement Objectives by accountable corporations and ecosystems that allow change. With greater than 12,000 corporations and three,000 non-business signatories primarily based in over 160 international locations, and 69 Native Networks, the UN International Compact is the world’s largest company sustainability initiative — one International Compact uniting enterprise for a greater world.

For extra data, observe @globalcompact on social media and go to our web site at unglobalcompact.org.


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