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Dr Ahmed Shaheed
Academic support hoursFriday 1400 hrs-1600 hrs

Dr Ahmed Shaheed is Lecturer in Human Rights in the School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. 

Dr Shaheed is an internationally recognised expert on foreign policy, international diplomacy, democratisation and human rights reform especially in Muslim States. He has twice held the Office of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Maldives, a position he used to promote human rights standards and norms. During his time in government, he played a leading role in the Maldives democratic transition and in its human rights reform process over a period of transition from a thirty-year-old autocracy with widespread human rights abuses, to a Muslim democracy which, in 2010, became a Member of the United Nations Human Rights Council with a record number of votes. In April 2009, the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy in Washington presented him with the “Muslim Democrat of the Year Award,” and in 2010, the President of Albania awarded him the “Medal of Gratitude” for his contribution to peace and human rights in the Balkans.

The UN Human Rights Council appointed Dr Shaheed to the office of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran in June 2011, and he began his mandate on 1 August. He is the fourth Special Rapporteur to Iran, after Andres Aguilar (1984-1986), Reynaldo Galindo Pohl (1986-1995), and Maurice Copithorne (1995-2002). Since his appointment as Special Rapporteur, Dr. Shaheed has produced eight reports, submitted to the UN General Assembly (September 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014) and to the UN Human Rights Council (March 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015).

Dr Shaheed is also a member of the Advisory Committee on Interfaith Dialogue established by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and Responsibility to Protect.

He is the founding Chair of the Geneva-based human rights think-tank, Universal Rights Group.


BScEcon (International Politics and Strategic Studies), University of Aberystwyth, 1989

PhD (International Relations), University of Queensland, 1995.

Research interests

 Religion and human rights, Operationalisation of human rights, human rights diplomacy

Teaching responsibilities

Dr Shaheed is the Director of two postgraduate modules on Islam and Human Rights and on Human Rights, International Relations and Diplomacy. He also contributes to teaching on LLM module International Human Rights Law: Law, Institutions and Practice, and Right Skills for Human Rights and MA module Human Rights and Cultural Diversity.

Study areas


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