Geneva has become the first city to officially sign the Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea that aims to raise awareness on the violation of human rights in international waters.
Mayor of Geneva Sami Kanaan signed the document on Tuesday as gesture against the policy of Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to criminalise the rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.
The declarationexternal link was put together by lawyers, representatives of UN agencies and members of civil society in Geneva and officially launched on Tuesday. It calls for human rights and international laws relating to them to be applicable in international waters as on land. In addition to the welfare of migrants, the declaration supports the sustainable use of the seas, the protection of biodiversity and the importance of the seas for world trade
Kanaan said that the declaration "will be considered in the coming years as a fundamental initiative". He also hoped that other cities would also sign up and support the declaration.
In recent years, the city of Geneva has on several occasions taken the opposite view of federal authorities on international issues. In December last year, the Swiss government rejected calls to allow the migrant rescue ship Aquarius to fly under the Swiss flag.
“The City of Geneva, as a global economic hub, the headquarters of the United Nations and an important flag state [for marine vessels], has a specific and direct interest in the guarantee and protection of human rights on land and at sea,” said an official statement.