The meeting took place in Manila on November 13, organised by Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI), and DOLE, the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment.

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Issuing the first ever Manila Statement on the Fair Treatment of Seafarers, senior government representatives from over 10 countries in the region said the time was right for action to be taken to protect their seafarers.

The Regional Meeting also wanted to raise awareness of the Guidelines amongst stakeholders and role players, and explore how the region could develop resources, knowledge and expertise. In addition, it addressed increasing cooperation amongst States at regional and international level.

The Guidelines are voluntary and do not seek to interfere with any State's domestic, criminal, or civil law. They aspire to balance the rights and obligations of stakeholders to whom the Guidelines are addressed, such as port and coastal states, flag states, the seafarers’ states, shipowners and seafarers.

Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of SRI, stated:

A number of governments have already implemented the Guidelines but many others need to consider them and look at how they can be implemented within their own legislation.