United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

The Law of the Sea is a group of international laws that relate to the principles and rules that concern public bodies – especially states – in maritime matters. Including navigation rights, sea mineral rights and coastal water jurisdiction. It is a branch of the general law, analogous to the law (Emirate of the Sea), which relates to everything related to private maritime communication. The oceans have long been subjected to the principle of freedom of movement in the seas, as this principle was established in the seventeenth century, essentially limiting the national rights and jurisdiction over the oceans to place them in a narrow belt of sea surrounding the coasts of that country and the remaining area of ​​the seas was declared as enjoying Free for everyone and does not belong to any country. While this situation prevailed in the twentieth century, by the middle of the twentieth century there was a great force to expand national entitlements over marine resources.

The importance of the process of codifying the law of the sea and its progressive development, which has been achieved in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, will contribute to strengthening peace, security, cooperation and friendly relations among all countries in accordance with the principles of justice and equal rights, and will encourage economic and social progress for all peoples of the world, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations outlined In the United Nations Charter.

The United Nations has long been concerned with putting in place great efforts to ensure that the seas and oceans are used in a cooperative, peaceful and legally determined use, for the benefit of mankind at the individual and collective levels. As a result of urgent calls for an effective and clearly defined international regime on the seabed and oceans beyond national jurisdiction, a 15-year process saw the establishment of the United Nations Seabed Committee, the signing of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on the Seabed, and at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment the General Assembly adopted a textual declaration However, all the resources of the seabed are outside the boundaries of national jurisdiction and are the common heritage of humanity.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), concluded in 1982 and entered into force in 1994, is generally accepted as a codification of customary international law of the sea.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea concluded in 1982 entered into force on November 16, 1994, and it is an international agreement that provides an integrated legal framework for the mechanism for the use of the world’s seas and oceans waters, and it guarantees the preservation of environmental and marine resources as well as the fair use of those resources. The treaty also deals with issues related to state sovereignty over the seas and oceans, usufructs over maritime areas, and rights related to navigation. As of January 10, 2014, the number of countries that ratified and acceded to the treaty was 166. The treaty can be read and information about member states can be accessed through the United Nations Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea.

The effective action of the United Nations was evident in the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982 as a decisive moment for the expansion of international law to include the planet’s vast shared water resources. The agreement has contributed to resolving a number of important issues related to ocean use and sovereignty, including:

Establish freedom of navigation rights

Determine the territorial maritime boundary 12 nautical miles from shore

Designation of exclusive economic zones to 200 nautical miles from shore

Set rules to extend continental shelf rights up to 350 nautical miles offshore

Establishing an International Seabed Authority.

Establishing other mechanisms for conflict resolution (for example, the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf).

The efforts of the United Nations did not stop at the work of the Convention only, as it has followed, over the years, everything that happens in the seas, for example the actions of pirates.

Piracy has increased in recent years off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Guinea. Piracy threatens maritime security in particular by endangering the welfare of seafarers and the security of navigation and trade. These criminal acts may lead to loss of life, material damage or the taking of seafarers as hostages, major disruptions in trade and navigation, financial losses to shipowners, increased insurance premiums and security costs, increased costs for consumers and producers, and damage to the marine environment.

The major repercussions resulting from the pirate attacks are the prevention of humanitarian aid and the increase in the costs of shipments coming to the affected areas. On September 9, 2010, the United Nations updated the agreement to suit the repeated cases of piracy.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates in Article 100 that all states are obligated to cooperate to the maximum extent possible in suppressing piracy and have universal jurisdiction on the high seas to seize pirate ships and aircraft, or a ship or aircraft seized by piracy, and states have the right to monitor Pirates are arresting people and seizing property on board.

Accordingly, the efforts exerted and developed continuously by the United Nations to keep abreast of any developments occurring in the sea world, to face any dangers such as the dangers of pirates, and these efforts are the embodiment and codification of the law of the seas used to maintain the security and safety of countries on the coast, as well as to preserve the resources of the seas and oceans.

Sources and references:

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

An article entitled Oceans and the Law of the Sea, published on the United Nations website

Permanent Court of Arbitration, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations in addition to a Master's degree in International Security Studies. Alongside this, I have a passion for web development. During my studies, I acquired a strong understanding of fundamental political concepts and theories in international relations, security studies, and strategic studies.

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