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How fares the shipping world in observing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). is the foundational document for all human rights laws, including ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. Any discussion on the rights of seafarers and other maritime workers must hark back to it. So how has the shipping world fared in observing its tenets?

The word ‘empathy’ and the battle for seafarers’ rights

The APA (Amercian Pschological Association) Dictionary of Psychology defines empathy as “understanding a person from his or her frame of reference rather than one’s own, or vicariously experiencing that person’s feelings, perceptions, and thoughts.” Clearly, there should be empathy if seafarers are to be treated more kindly by those who profit from them. So why is this word not used more often by advocates of seafarers’ rights?

Love, sex and the seafarer: ‘The human element’ in art

I have always objected to the use of the term “the human element” to refer to seafarers. It not only sounds as cold as the periodic table of elements invented by the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev. More important, it objectifies seafarers and detracts from their humanity. The following works of art show just how human they are — no less driven by love and libido than the maritime bureaucrats and pedants who label them “the human element”.

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