Human rights 'founding father', Sir Nigel Rodley, dies

Professor Sir Nigel Rodley Image copyright PA
Image caption Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, described as a "founding father" of the human rights movement, has died aged 75

One of the "founding fathers" of the humans rights movement, Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, has died at the age of 75.

Sir Nigel dedicated his career to combating human rights violations through his involvement with the United Nations and Amnesty International.

Colleagues described him as "brilliant and unpretentious" and an "inspiring and generous human being".

In 1998 he was knighted for services to human rights and international law.

Sir Nigel worked as a legal adviser at Amnesty International from 1973 onwards and collaborated with universities including the London School of Economics and the University of Essex.

From 1993 to 2001 he served as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture.


An international lawyer and professor, Sir Nigel was a prominent member of the UN Human Rights Committee between 2001 and 2016. He served as its chairman from 2012 to 2014.

He helped found the University of Essex Human Rights Centre where staff said he would be greatly missed.

Centre director Dr Clara Sandoval said: "The human rights movement has lost one of its founding fathers.

"The School of Law and the Human Rights Centre have lost a brilliant and unpretentious colleague, an inspiring and generous human being and a wonderful mentor and friend."

'Lasting impact'

University of Essex Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster added: "Professor Sir Nigel Rodley was a global champion of human rights - writing influential books on international human rights law while also undertaking incredibly important work on behalf of the United Nations.

"He was an inspiration to many, many students and colleagues. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."

Wilder Tayler, secretary general of the International Commission of Jurists, of which Sir Nigel was president, said: "Sir Nigel was a stalwart of the human rights movement.

"His firm commitment to the promotion of human rights and rule of law has had a deep and lasting impact that will continue in his absence."

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