Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea: Informal Lawmaking in Action?

Event date
1 December 2022
Event time
17:45 - 18:55
Oxford week
MT 8
The Dorfman Centre, St Peter's College, and Online via Zoom

Professor Natalie Klein, University of New South Wales, Sydney

*** Please note that this event takes place at 17:45 on 1 December ***

To join (whether in person or online), please complete the Registration Form by 17:30 on Wednesday 30 November. Please note that if you register for online attendance after this time, a Zoom link may not be sent to you.

Abstract: The Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea (GDHRAS) was officially adopted in March 2022 as an initiative of the UK-based charity, Human Rights at Sea. The GDHRAS seeks to respond to an extensive range of human rights abuses occurring throughout the oceans in bringing together the law of the sea and international human rights law. This paper introduces the GDHRAS and then focuses on its lawmaking potential. NGO-led initiatives have resulted in the development of treaties previously and it is worth considering what conditions existed to facilitate that outcome and whether those conditions pertain to the GDHRAS. Alternatively, we can look to other examples of informal lawmaking in the law of the sea and assess how the GDHRAS compares. It is worth examining future lawmaking opportunities to improve the protection of human rights at sea and predict the potential of the GDHRAS to influence State decision-making in favour of protecting human rights at sea.

Speaker: Dr. Natalie Klein is a Professor at UNSW Sydney’s Faculty of Law & Justice, Australia, and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. She is currently President of the Australian Branch of the International Law Association and a Trustee for the UK-based charity, Human Rights at Sea. Professor Klein was previously Dean of Macquarie Law School (2011-2017), as well as Acting Head of the Department for Policing, Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism at Macquarie University (2013-2014). She has been a Visiting Fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at Cambridge University, a non-resident Fellow at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute in Sri Lanka and MacCormick Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Prior to joining Macquarie, Professor Klein worked at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, for the Government of Eritrea (1998-2002) and in the Office of Legal Affairs at the United Nations.  Her masters and doctorate in law were earned at Yale Law School and she is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.


The Public International Law Discussion Group at the University of Oxford is a key focal point for PIL@Oxford and hosts regular speaker events. Topics involve contemporary and challenging issues in international law. Speakers include distinguished international law practitioners, academics, and legal advisers from around the world.

PIL Discussion Group Convenor: Natasha Holcroft-Emmess.

The Discussion Group's meetings are part of the programme of the British Branch of the International Law Association and are supported by the Law Faculty and Oxford University Press.

For this seminar, the speaker will commence at 5:45pm UK Time and the speaker will present for around 30-40 minutes, with around 30 minutes for questions and discussion. The meeting should conclude by 6:55pm UK Time.

Practitioners, academics and students from within and outside the University of Oxford are all welcome.

Found within

Public International Law