Humanists International welcomes new Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief

  • post Type / Advocacy News
  • Date / 13 July 2022

The UN Human Rights Council has appointed a new Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Dr. Nazila Ghanea.

Dr. Ghanea is a professor of international human rights law and director of international human rights programmes at the University of Oxford. She was appointed by the Council on 8 July, during the 50th session of the Council. Dr. Ghanea is taking over the mandate from Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, who served as rapporteur from 2016-2022.

During his term, Dr. Shaheed published thematic reports on a wide range of issues, including a seminal report on the relationship between freedom of religion or belief and gender equality, a report on freedom of religion or belief and expression, and one on the human right to freedom of thought. Humanists International was involved in consultations that preceded the writing of these reports.

During the 50th session, the Council also appointed several other Special Procedure mandate holders, including a new Special Rapporteur on education, Ms. Farida Shaheed, and a new Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Dr. Alice Jill Edwards. Farida Shaheed has previously served as the UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights.

UN Special Rapporteurs are independent experts appointed by the Council to report and advise on human rights issues. They serve in their personal capacities and do not represent their countries of citizenship, allowing them to carry out their work impartially and independently. They are elected for 3-year mandates, which can be renewed for a further three years.

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