Dr Nazila Ghanea

Profile details


Dr Nazila Ghanea is Associate Professor in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Kellogg College. She was the founding editor of the international journal of Religion and Human Rights and now serves on its Editorial Board. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, the Board of Governors of the Universal Rights Group and the Advisory Council of the Cambridge Institute on Religion & Global Affairs (CIRGA). She has been a visiting academic at a number of institutions including Columbia and NYU, and previously taught at the University of London and Keele University, UK and in China.

Nazila has acted as a human rights consultant/expert for a number of governments, the UN, UNESCO, OSCE, Commonwealth, Council of Europe and the EU. She has facilitated international human rights law training for a range of professional bodies around the world, lectured widely and carried out first hand human rights field research in a number of countries including Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. She is a regular contributor to the media on human rights matters. This coverage has included BBC World Service, BBC Woman’s Hour, The Times, Radio Free Europe, The Guardian, Avvenire, The Telegraph, The National (UAE), New Statesman, Sveriges Radio, TA3 Slovakia and El Pais.

Research interests

Nazila’s research spans freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, women’s rights, minority rights and human rights in the Middle East. Her publications include nine books, four UN publications as well as a number of journal articles and reportsHer research attracted funding from the Open Society Institute, the UK Arts and Humanities Research Board, the UK Economic and Social Research Council, various university funds and the Qatar Foundation and she has been invited to address UN expert seminars on four occasions.

She recently completed being part of a research term investigating ‘Religion and Belief, Discrimination and Equality in England and Wales: Theory, Policy and Practice’ (2010-2013). She has now commenced research, as part of a research team from UCL, Georgetown and Qatar University, regarding the domestic impact of human rights treaty ratification on the countries of the GCC.



Human Rights, the UN and the Bahá’ís in Iran”, The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2003, 628 pp.

United Nations Papers

UN Expert Paper on Articles 19 and 20 of the ICCPR, relating to freedom of expression and prohibition of advocacy of hatred.

UN Document, “Ethnic and Religious Groups in the Islamic Republic of Iran”, tabled at the United Nations Working Group on Minorities, May 2003 (UN Document E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.5/2003/WP.8).

Journal Articles

Religious or Minority?”, Religion, State and Society, 36.3, September 2008.

From UN Commission on Human Rights to UN Human Rights Council: One step forwards or two steps sideways”, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 55.3, July 2006.

Convergences and disparities between the human rights of religious minorities and of women in the Middle East”, Human Rights Quarterly, 26.3, August 2004.

Diplomatic Efforts to Protect Human Rights in Iran”, Centre for the Study of Diplomacy, University of Leicester, Diplomatic Studies Programme Discussion Papers, Jan Melissen (Ed.), 1999, ISSN 1363-7800.

Edited Collections

Does God Believe in Human Rights?”, (co-edited with Alan Stephens and Raphael Walden), Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2007, ISBN 90-04-15254-7.

Minorities, Peoples and Self-Determination” (co-edited with Alexandra Xanthaki), Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2005, ISBN 90-04-14301-7.

The Challenge of Religious Discrimination at the Dawn of the New Millennium”, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2003, ISBN 90-04-13641-X.

Book Chapters

“Phobias and ‘Isms’: Recognition of Difference or the Slippery Slope of Particularisms?”, in Does God Believe in Human Rights?, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2007.

“Middle East” section of the State of the World’s Minorities 2006, London: Minority Rights Group International, December 2005, ISBN 1 904584 32 2, pp.167-181.

“Repressing Minorities and getting away with it? A consideration of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”, Minorities, Peoples and Self-Determination, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2005.

Apostasy and Freedom to Change Religion or Belief”, in Facilitating Freedom of Religion and Belief: Perspectives, Impulses and Recommendations from the Oslo Coalition, Cole Durham, Tore Lindholm and Bahia Tahzib-Lie (Eds.), Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2004, ISBN 90-04-13783-1. Nazila also co-authored the Introduction to this 38 page collection with the Editors.