Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro

Chair, International Commission of Inquiry for Syria

For his more than 30 years of work in support of human rights both at the United Nations and Inter-American systems

sergio_200Sérgio Pinheiro serves as chairperson of the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on alleged human rights violations in Syria and was appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on Syria. The Commission has been instrumental in providing credible information to the international community on the gross violations of human rights and crimes against humanity that have been taking place in the context of the Syrian uprising.


Pinheiro has more than 30 years of experience in human rights work, having served in a variety of positions within the UN and Inter-American systems. In 2003, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Pinheiro as an independent expert, with the rank of Assistant Secretary- General, to prepare an in-depth study into the global phenomenon of violence against children, which was presented to the UN General Assembly in 2006. Annan also appointed Pinheiro to chair the UN Independent Special Commission of Inquiry on Timor-Leste in 2005, and to serve as a member on the UN International Commission of Inquiry on alleged human rights violations in Togo in 2000. Pinheiro was UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burundi from 1995-1998 and in Myanmar from 2000-2008.


Pinheiro previously served as a commissioner and rapporteur on children for the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States. He served as Secretary of State for Human Rights under President Fernando Henrique Cardoso in Brazil, and as rapporteur for the Brazilian government’s National Human Rights Plans.


Pinheiro has a long career in academia. He is a research coordinator at the Center for the Study of Violence, and professor of political science (retired) at the University of São Paulo. In addition to his responsibilities at the University of São Paulo, he has taught regularly every two years since 1997 at Brown University. Previously, he has also taught at Columbia University and Notre Dame University, in the United States, at Oxford University, in the United Kingdom, and at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, in France.

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