Seafarers' Rights International - Image © P. Terraz

Seafarers have human rights under international law.

Human rights are owed by States to all individuals within their jurisdiction and in some situations also to groups of individuals. Human rights are universal and should be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. Human rights are enshrined in international law, international treaties, and regional treaties and national constitutions.

International human rights law lays down standards of behaviour for States. When a State ratifies a human rights treaty it is under a duty to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in that treaty.   However, there are also several core human rights that a State is obliged to uphold whether or not it has ratified a treaty. These core human rights include the right to life, prohibition of torture and the principle of non-discrimination.

International human rights cannot be removed or overridden or waived, for example by contracts of employment.

Any law that can be used to promote or protect human rights can be considered part of human rights law. A number of decisions and actions by UN organs, as well as other international and regional bodies, have contributed to the interpreting of human rights principles. Similarly, national courts have contributed to the interpreting and substance of human rights law.