Students Staff

16 January 2014

Geneva launch for Essex-led global human rights guide

World-leading experts from the University of Essex Human Rights Centre will launch a new definitive global analysis of international human rights law in Geneva next week.

Scott Sheeran

Scott Sheeran

The Routledge Handbook of International Human Rights Law has been co-edited by two of Essex’s world-renowned human rights academics and practitioners, Professor Sir Nigel Rodley and Scott Sheeran, while a quarter of its 41 chapters have been written by Essex academics.

The book will be launched alongside a new international human rights think tank, the Universal Rights Group, which Essex has strong links to, in Geneva on 20 January. The event - which will be attended by ambassadors and diplomats, United Nations officials, representatives from NGOs and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights - will highlight the importance of this research to support international policy-making.

Essex’s Dr Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Iran and Chairperson of the Universal Rights Group board, will chair a panel and interactive dialogue with a selection of academics who have contributed to the Routledge Handbook.

With each chapter written by a leading expert, the Routledge Handbook provides a contemporary overview of topics integral to the theory and practice of international human rights law. It also addresses current and future challenges facing human rights, and examines how human rights law interacts with other legal regimes and international institutions.

Scott Sheeran, a Senior Lecturer from Essex’s School of Law and Human Rights Centre, said: “Sir Nigel and I are very pleased with this leading collection of academic reflections on the state of international human rights law. It provides important food for thought for scholars and practitioners alike, and helpful guidance for students. The fact that so many authors are from Essex, demonstrates the almost unparalleled depth, range and level of expertise we have in this field.”

Professor Sir Nigel Rodley added: “It’s a book that tries to cover the main areas of international human rights law indicating what the current state of knowledge and areas for exploration are. It’s brought together people from all over the world, both experts and rising stars.”

As well as launching the Routledge Handbook, the event in Geneva will launch the Universal Rights Group, a new think tank in which Essex academics play key roles: Dr Ahmed Shaheed who teaches at Essex’s Human Rights Centre is Board Chairperson; Professor Sir Nigel Rodley and Professor Paul Hunt, also of Essex, are members of the Board of Trustees; and Scott Sheeran is a member of the Advisory Committee.


More information

The following Essex academics have written, or co-written, chapters in the Routledge Handbook of International Human Rights Law: Professor Michael Freeman, Professor Francoise Hampson, Professor Karen Hulme, Professor Paul Hunt, Professor Sheldon Leader, Lorna McGregor, Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, Dr Clara Sandoval, and Scott Sheeran. Others affiliated with Essex who were contributing authors are: Catherine Bevilacqua, Judith Bueno de Mesquita, Joo-Young Lee and Sally-Anne Way

Professor Sir Nigel Rodley served as the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture from 1993 to 2001 and is the current Chair of the UN Human Rights Committee (which he has been a member of since 2001). He is also Chair of Essex’s inter-disciplinary Human Rights Centre.

Scott Sheeran is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Essex and Director of its Human Rights in Iran Unit. He previously worked as a New Zealand diplomat and legal adviser including a term as the Vice-Chair of the Legal (Sixth) Committee of the UN General Assembly, and is on the advisory council of several human rights NGOs.

For more information please contact the University of Essex Communications office, telephone: 01206 873529, or email:

For information about the launch event in Geneva, please contact Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group. Telephone: +41 22 755 1456 or email:

...more news releases