Essex human rights expert appointed UN Chair Rapporteur

  • Date

    Tue 9 Apr 24

Dr Matthew Gillett speaking at a United Nations press conference

One of Essex’s leading human rights experts has been elected to the role of United Nations Chair Rapporteur.

Dr Matthew Gillett, of Essex Law School, is now the Chair Rapporteur for the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention having previously been a member of the group since 2022.

He will be responsible for managing this UN Special Mandate which consists of an expert from each of the five UN regions around the world.

The working group investigates alleged cases of arbitrary detention, considers individual complaints, and conducts country visits to assess national systems of detention.

It communicates and can send urgent appeals to Governments to make them aware or clarify cases of arbitrary detention.

Reacting to his new role, Dr Gillett said: “Being elected Chair-Rapporteur is an honour, and an opportunity to focus on improving the impact of our work.

“In particular, I am focused on ending the use of arbitrary detention against human rights defenders, environmental protectors, and political opponents, which we see all too often around the world.”

In his new role as Chair Rapporteur, Dr Gillett was among a host of UN experts calling on Egypt to halt the planned executions of seven men accused of terrorism offences last week.

Dr Gillett is able to share his expertise and experience working as a Special Mandate holder with Essex students through the Arbitrary Detention Redress Unit.

He is one of the lead supervisors with the unit which gives students real-life experience of investigating cases of arbitrary detention, as well as the chance to hone their own skills and understanding of international human rights laws.