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Ocean defenders and human rights

Nathan J. Bennett, Rocio Lopez De La Lama, Philippe le Billon, Irmak Ertör and Elisa Morgera

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  • activism,
  • Environmental defenders
  • English

Human rights issues and violations are on the rise in the ocean due to the ongoing, rapid and unchecked escalation of anthropogenic activities in marine and coastal environments.

This open access, scientific article, published on18 January 2023 in the journal Frontiers, argues that the oceans have long been threatened by various human activities, but their impact on human rights has been largely ignored. This article advocates for a greater understanding of the link between ocean activity and human rights. The article provides six areas of focus that need attention: national governance and its gaps; the responsibilities of businesses in the sector; protecting the rights of the coastal and ocean-dependent population; safeguarding ocean defenders; making legal decisions that are based on scientific evidence; and the development of robust legal frameworks. The authors suggest that addressing these issues is crucial to protecting the environment and the human rights of those dependent on it.