Protection at Sea

Global Initiative on Protection at Sea

UNHCR’s Global Initiative on Protection at Sea, developed in 2014 in the lead-up to the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection at Sea, sets out the essential elements of a necessary response, with the core goal of supporting action by States to:

  • reduce loss of life at sea, as well as exploitation, abuse and violence experienced by people travelling irregularly by sea, and
  • establish protection-sensitive responses to irregular mixed migration by sea.

Achieving these objectives extends beyond search-and-rescue systems, to early identification of those needing international protection, humane treatment and prevention of refoulement, as well as access to fair and efficient asylum procedures.

UNHCR promotes protection at sea with and alongside States, partner agencies, civil society and the shipping industry, through advocacy, capacity-building and training activities, and legal and policy guidance, including by facilitating regional workshops on search-and-rescue and protection at sea, developing guidance materials, providing training on human rights and refugee protection at sea, and supporting comprehensive approaches to protection at sea.