From 1 May 2012 to 30 April 2018, Alfred-Maurice de Zayas served as the first UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.
Alfred-Maurice de Zayas studied history and law at Harvard, where he obtained his J.D. He practiced corporate law with the New York law firm Simpson Thacher and Bartlett and is a retired member of the New York and Florida Bar. He obtained a doctorate in history for the University of Göttingen in Germany.
Mr. de Zayas has been visiting professor of law at numerous universities including the University of British Columbia in Canada, the Graduate Institute of the University of Geneva, the DePaul University Law School (Chicago), the Human Rights Institute at the Irish National University (Galway)and the University of Trier (Germany). At present he teaches international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy.
In 2009 de Zayas was a member of the UN workshop that drafted a report on the human right to peace, which was subsequently discussed and further elaborated by the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council. He is also a signatory of the Declaración de Bilbao and Declaración de Santiago de Compostela on the Human Right to Peace. He served as a consultant to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the issue of mercenaries.
De Zayas is an expert for civil and political rights and has published nine books on a variety of legal and historical issues, including “United Nations Human Rights Committee Case Law” (together with Jakob th. Möller, N.P. Engel 2009), and has been co-author and co-editor of numerous other books. His scholarly articles in the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford Encyclopedia of Human Rights and Macmillan Encyclopedia of Genocide, encompass the prohibition of aggression, universal jurisdiction, the right to the homeland, mass population transfers, minority rights, refugee law, repatriation, legal aspects of the Spanish Civil War, indefinite detention, Guantanamo and the right to peace.
From 2002-2006 he was Secretary-General, from 2006-2010 President of PEN International, Centre Suisse romand. He was member of several advisory boards, including of the International Society of Human Rights (Frankfurt a.M.), Zentrum gegen Vertreibungen (Berlin), the International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (Canada) and of the conseil scientifique of the Académie International de droit constitutionnel (Tunis).
He has received several awards, notably the "Educators Award 2011" of Canadians for Genocide Education.
Articles and opinion
- Carta Abierta: Derecho a Libre Determinacion, 22/12/2017
- Concluding Remarks of the Independent Expert, Human Rights Council 36th Session, 14/9/2017
- On the situation in Venezuela, Opinion from the Independent Expert, 4/8/2017
- Side event during HRC35 on the draft declaration on the right to international solidarity, 8/6/2017
- Workshop on unilateral coercive measures, Statement by the Independent Expert, 3/6/2017
- Ecuador withdraws from its remaining bilateral investment treaties, Opinion from the Independent Expert, 31/5/2017
- Greece needs international solidarity and debt relief, Opinion from the Independent Expert, 24/5/2017
- Whistleblowers promote transparency and accountability, Opinion from the Independent Expert, 24/5/2017
- Decision of the European Court of Justice on the free trade agreement between the European Union and Singapore, Statement by the Independent Expert, 17/5/2017
- World Press Freedom Day, Information Note from the Independent Expert, 3/5/2017
- Women and sustainable peace, panel during the CSW, Statement from the Independent Expert, 13/3/2017
- Intervention from the Independent Expert during a parallel event organised during the 2016 Forum on business and human rights, 14 November 2016
- OEIWG for the elaboration of an International Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises with respect to human rights, Statement by the Independent Expert, 27 October 2016
- "International Day of Peace", Statement by the Independent Expert, 20/09/2016
- A new paradigm of human rights", Opinion by the Independent Expert, 13/6/2016
- Conference on transnational corporations and human rights, Intervention of the Independent Expert, 3/6/2016
- Hearing of the European Parliamentary Assembly, "Governments, Parliaments and Courts to fulfill their Responsibility to Act (R2A) in the public interest", intervention of the Independent Expert, 19/04/2016
- Argentinian "vulture funds", Opinion of the Independent Expert, 08/03/2016
E | S
- Side Event of the 31st session of the Human Rights Council, "A Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights", Intervention of the Independent Expert, 09/03/2016
- COP21, Opinion Note of the Independent Expert, 7/12/2015
- Terrorism in the age of asymmetries, Opinion of the Independent Expert, 20/11/2015
- Statement on the occasion of International Day of Peace, 21/09/2015
- 3rd session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the Draft United Nations Declaration on the Right to Peace, Intervention of the Independent Expert, 20/4/2015
- Information Note on free trade agreements, 30/03/2015
- "Side event human rights and whistleblowers", 23/3/2015
- Panel Presentation at The Carter Center Conference on Human Rights and Election Standards, 11/02/2015
- Informal consultation of the Working Group on a draft UN declaration on the right to peace, Opinion of the Independent Expert, 30/01/2015
- Statement made at the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, 9/12/2014
- Statement made at the 21st Annual Meeting of Special Procedures Mandate Holders (during the dialogue with the High Commissioner), 3/10/2014
- Statement made at the 21st Annual Meeting of Special Procedures Mandate Holders (during the dialogue with States), 2/10/2014
- UNFOLD ZERO and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs commemorating the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, 25 September 2014
- Side event to the advisory committee of the Human Rights Council on “The right to peace and the responsibility to protect”, Opinion of the Independent Expert, 13/8/2014
- 2nd session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the Draft United Nations Declaration on the Right to Peace , Intervention of the Independent Expert, 30/6/2014, 30/6/2014
- Workshop on the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Intervention of the Independent Expert, 23/5/2014
- Business and Human Rights Workshop, Intervention of the Independent Expert, 11-12/3/2014