NUI Galway's Professor Schabas Chairs UN Human Rights Board
Monday, 14 December 2009
NUI Galway's Professor William Schabas has been designated the chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights. Professor Schabas is Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and holds the Chair in Human Rights Law at the University. A world-renowned expert on international human rights law, Professor Schabas has particular expertise is in the areas of genocide and international criminal courts. The Board of Trustees is appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. Individuals are appointed to represent the different geographic regions of the world and are chosen for their independence and wide experience in the field of human rights and technical cooperation. Commenting on the work of the five members of the Board of Trustees, the new Chair, Professor Schabas said: "The Board meets twice annually in Geneva to oversee the work of the Fund which is used to support Human Rights Advisors and Field Offices of the High Commissioner in a number of countries around the world. We also function as an advisory council for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Many governments, including that of Ireland, contribute to the Fund, which had an income this year of $17.5 million". Professor Schabas has participated in numerous international human rights missions on behalf of non-governmental organisations such as Amnesty International and the International Federation of Human Rights, to Rwanda, Burundi, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Cambodia and Guyana. In 2002, the President of Sierra Leone appointed him to the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission upon the recommendation of Mary Robinson, the then United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Professor Schabas teaches at the Irish Centre for Human Rights in NUI Galway, which has become internationally recognised in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy. This has enabled the institution to attract high quality students to its acclaimed MA programmes and doctoral research. Reflecting the growing interest in this field, the University has also now developed a Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights.