Our New Visiting Fellow: Dr Amna Nazir

Portrait of Amna Nazir Portrait of Amna Nazir

5 February 2021

Dr Amna Nazir is a Lecturer in Law and Associate Director of the Centre for Human Rights at Birmingham City University, in the United Kingdom, and holds an Editorship at Harvard Law School’s renowned Program in Islamic Law. Her research and teaching expertise lies in international human rights law and Islamic law, with a particular focus on the UN’s Universal Periodic Review mechanism. She has engaged in consultancy work with government officials and NGOs and continues to provide expert submissions in the UN arena.

She just started as Visiting Fellow at the Geneva Academy, working remotely from Birmingham, and will stay with us until the end of March 2021.

What Motivated you to Carry out a Fellowship at the Geneva Academy?

The Geneva Academy’s global network of leading researchers alongside its close interactions with international organizations, civil society, governments and the private sector has been the key factor in undertaking a fellowship here. It is a unique opportunity to engage with academics and professionals in my field and gain unrivalled feedback on my work.

What Will be the Focus of your Research during this Fellowship?

My research will evaluate the engagement of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) with a focus on freedom of religion or belief.

Why are these Issues Important?

A number of OIC states are regularly scrutinized for their inadequate protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief with some states criminalising certain acts such as apostasy. These states must be urged to uphold this fundamental human right, without discrimination, in accordance to their international human rights obligations. One such way is through the UN Human Rights Council’s innovative mechanism, the UPR, which evaluates the human rights commitments of all Member States.

What Will be the Impact of this Research?

The aim of this research is twofold. First, to contribute to the evolving scholarship in this area and, second, to inform policymaking. It is hoped the research will influence the work of all actors involved in promoting freedom of religion or belief at both the domestic and international level. In particular, stakeholder submissions to the UPR of an OIC state can utilize findings of this research project to strengthen their submissions.

What Do you Expect from your time at the Geneva Academy?

I hope to share my ideas and theories to world-leading experts at the Geneva Academy and gain valuable insight and feedback. Potential collaboration with Geneva Academy would also be a very welcome result.

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