Document Type : Article


1 Associate Prof., Department of Public and International Law, Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Research Center for the Caspian Region, University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Iran


The abuse of human rights at sea is a critical problem that has often been ignored. Since violation of human rights at sea is not as tangible as it is on land, it has not received enough  attention from the international community. Governments are certainly committed to respecting human rights within their territories including their territorial waters, but there are no clear rules about protecting human rights in other marine areas especialy the high seas.On the other hand,  due to the expansion of marine activities, there might emerge a conflict between the law of the sea and other fields of international law especially human rights law. The contrast between human rights and the law of the sea can be seen as an opportunity for developing international law in order to stregthen the rule of law. Human rights and the law of the sea are connected in many cases. The Hirsi Jamaa case is a notable example. The Law of the Sea aims to govern uses of the sea, but the purpose of this research is to examine the relationship between the individual and the state in the maritime space, and thus the humanization of the law of the sea.


  1. A) Books
  2. Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (2013), International Law for Humankind towards a New Jus Gentium, Martinus nijhoff publishers, Vol. 8.
  3. Bernhard, Ryan & Mitsilegas, Valsamis (2010),” Extraterritorial Immigration Control: Legal Challenges”, BRILL.
  4. Falsafi, Hedayatollah (2018), The course of reason in the system of international law, New publication in collaboration with Asim Publishing (In Persian).
  5. Goodwin-Gill & McAdam, J..(2011), the refugee in international law, 3rd ed, Oxford University Press.
  6. Hathaway, J.C, (2005), “The right of refugees under international law”, Human Rights Law Review Vol.7, No.2.
  7. Lauterpacht, Elihu & Bethlehem, Daniel (2003), the scope and content of principle of non-refulgent, University of Cambridge.
  8. Mallia, P. (2010), Migrant Smuggling by Sea: Combating a Current Threat to Maritime Security through the Creation of a Cooperative Framework, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff.
  9. Ziai Bigdeli, M.R., (2011), Peblic International law, Ganjedanesh publication, Vol.31 (In Persian).


  1. B) Articles
  2. Floortje, F. &Hack, F. (2011), “Interceptions on the Mediterranean Sea and the principle of non-refoulement”, Tilburg university, pp.1-70.
  3. Kirchner, Stefan; Katarzyna, Geler-Noch & Frese, Vanessa (2015),” Coastal State Obligations in the Context of Refugees at Sea Under the European Convention on Human Rights”, Ocean and Coastal Law Journal, Vol.20, No.1, pp.1-27.
  4. Moreno-Lax,V. (2011),”Seeking Asylum in the Mediterranean: Against a Fragmentary Reading of EU Member States Obligations Accruing at Sea”, International Journal of Refugee Law, Vol. 23, No.2, pp.1-47.
  5. Nascimbene, Bruno (2012),” The “Push-back Policy” Struck Down Without Appeal? The European Court of Human Rights in Hirsi Jamaa and Others v. Italy”, institute affair internazionali, pp.1-6.
  6. Papastavridis, E., (2009), “Interception of Human Beings on the High Seas: A Contemporary Analysis under International Law”, 36 Syracuse Journal of International Law and Commerce, pp.145-228.
  7. Salau, Carola (2014),” The extraterritorial application of the principle of non-refoulement in the context of sea borders”, university of Twente,pp.1-33.
  8. Haji Ali Mohammadi, Sabnam (2011), “extraterritorial application of nonrefoulement and extraterritorial jurisdiction”, available at:, pp.1-48.
  9. Trevisanut, Seline (2008), “The principle of non-refoulement at sea and the effectiveness of asylum protection”, Max plant, pp.205-246.
  10. Wilde, Ralph (2017), “let them drown:rescuing migrants at sea and the non-refoulement obligation as a case study of international relationship to crisis”, available at: ,pp.1-5.


  1. C) Cases
  2. Hirsi jamaa and others v. ITALY, (App. No. 27765/09 Feb. 23, 2012) (judgment, 2012), ECtHR.
  3. Issa v. Turkey, (Application No. 31821/96, Judgment of 16 November 2004), ECtHR.
  4. Khlaifia and Others v. Italy, (judgment 15 December 2016) ECtHR,
  5. Medvedyev and others v.France (App. No. 3394/03)(2010), ECtHR.
  6. MSS v Belgium and Greece (Application No. 30696/09, judgment 2011) ECtHR.
  7. Soering v. The United Kingdom,( Application No. 14038/88, 7 July 1989), (ser. A), ECtHR,
  8. The Haitian Centre for Human Rights et al v. United States, (Decision as to the merits of case 10.675 13 March 1997, Report No. 51/96) Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.
  9. Xhavara & v. Italy &Albania,(2001) ECtHR.



  1. D) Documents
  2. 1997, available at:
  3. Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, Recommendation No. 773 (1976) on the Situation of de facto Refugees.
  4. EU Charter of Fundamental Rights,( Created: 2 October 2000, entered into force 7 December 2000).
  5. Guidelines on the Treatment of Persons Rescued at Sea, MSC 78/26/Add.2,2004.
  6. HRC, General Comment No. 31, CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.13, 2004.
  7. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, Art.7.
  8. Parliamentary Assembly, The “Left-to-Die Boat”: Actions and Reactions, 21st Sess., Doc. Doc. 13532, (2014), available at: /Documents/Records/2014/E/1406241000ADDE.htm.
  9. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime,Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000
  10. Report of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading treatment or Punishment (CPT), 28 April 2010.
  11. Resolution 1821 (2011) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,21 June 2011.
  12. the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees,( signed in July 28, 1951 entered into forced 22 April 1954).
  13. UN Doc. E/AC.32/SR.21.
  14. UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1998/14, 6 July 1998.
  15. UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR Note on the Principle of Non-Refoulement, November
  16. UNGA/ 22/Res.920, 22 January 2002
  17. UNHCR Excom , Protection of Asylum-Seekers in Situations of Large-Scale InfluxProtection of Asylum-Seekers in Situations of Large-Scale Influx No. 22 (XXXII) – 1981, available at: protection-asylum-seekers-situations-large-scale-influx.html
  18. UNHCR, Executive Committee Conclusion No.25(XXXIII),1982
  19. UNHCR, Executive Committee, Conclusion No.55(XL),1989.
  20. United Nations Convention against Torture (CAT),( signed in 4 February 1985, entered into force 26 June 1987 ).
  21. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982(adopted 30 April 1982, entered into force 16 November 1994)
  22. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Research Paper No. 283, 2016.
  23. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Respond to U.S. Supreme Court in Sale v. Haitian Centers Council, 1993, 32 ILM 1215.
  24. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, Art. 13(2),14(1).
  25. E) Website
  26. Efthymios Papastavridis,(2018), The Aquarius Incident and the Law of the Sea: Is Italy in Violation of the Relevant Rules?”,avalaible at:
  27. Hartmann, Jacques and Irini Papanicolopulu,(2015)” Are Human Rights Hurting Migrants at Sea?”, EJIL, available at:
  28. The Guardian,(2019),” Italy adopts decree that could fine migrant rescuers up to €50,000”, available at:


  1. F) Teases
  2. Sengar, Niloofar (2013), The principle of prohibiting the return of refugees from a human rights perspective, Master Thesis, Shahid Beheshti Universiy (In Persian).
  3. Yusef, Farzaneh (2015), The humanization of international law in the light of the theory of the responsibility of protection with emphasis on the view of Islam, aster thesis ,Payam Noor University (In Persian).