Ahmed Shaheed is Lecturer in Human Rights in the School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. He is an internationally recognised expert on foreign policy, international diplomacy, democratisation and human rights reform especially in Muslim States. He has twice held the Office of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Maldives, a position he used to promote human rights standards and norms. During his time in government, he played a leading role in the Maldives democratic transition and in its human rights reform process over a period of transition from a thirty-year-old autocracy with widespread human rights abuses, to a Muslim democracy which, in 2010, became a Member of the United Nations Human Rights Council with a record number of votes.
The UN Human Rights Council appointed Dr Shaheed to the office of Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief in November 2016. Prior to which he held the mandate of Special Rapporteur the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran from 2011-2016.
Dr Shaheed is also a member of the Advisory Committee on Interfaith Dialogue established by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and Responsibility to Protect. He is the founding Chair of the Geneva-based human rights think-tank, Universal Rights Group