Somali piracy has attracted the world’s attention over the last decade and whilst Somali piracy abates, the debate on its various aspects remains lively. This paper aims to shed light on one particular aspect of Somali piracy that remains unexplored – the violations of the human rights of seafarers, and especially those taken hostages. Despite the suffering of seafarers at the hands of pirates, their protection seems to fall beyond the human rights framework due to the non-state status of pirates. The lack of a human rights-oriented approach is reflected by significant counter-piracy responses, including the UNSC Resolutions, criminal responses and the conduct of naval operations that are reviewed here. Therefore, it is suggested that the traditional negative obligations of States and the evolution of the positive human rights obligations of States can offer a legal avenue for the better protection of the human rights of seafarers.
- human rights