Piracy off Somalia: The ‘Emperors and the Thieves of the Oceans’ in the 21st Century

Efthymios Papastavridis

in Protecting Human Security in Africa

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199578986
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595202 | DOI:
Piracy off Somalia: The ‘Emperors and the Thieves of the Oceans’ in the 21st Century

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This chapter analyses the problem of piracy in Africa. It first considers the possible legal justifications for the current counter-piracy operations and then scrutinizes the relevant measures taken a posteriori, such as the detainment and arrest of the pirates as well as their transfer to Kenya. The present situation gives rise to a host of international legal questions, including the problem of human security. It is a truism that pirates are treated as hostes humani generis and this has inescapable ramifications with regard to the protection of their human rights. The chapter argues that the international community and the states involved in the relevant counter-piracy operations — far from aiming at eliminating the veritable sources of this activity, such as the political situation in Somalia, the extreme poverty, the depletion of fishing resources, and waste dumping in the latter's shores — are engaged in short-term and ambivalent measures which only temporarily alleviate the problem.

Keywords: Somalia; piracy; international law; law of the sea; counter-piracy measures; human rights; human security

Chapter.  17736 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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