Dr Amna Nazir
Reader in International Human Rights; Associate Director Centre for Human Rights
- +44 (0)121 300 4074
Dr Amna Nazir is an interdisciplinary academic with research expertise in international human rights law and Islamic theology. She holds key senior and strategic roles as Associate Director of the School’s flagship Centre for Human Rights, Associate Director of Research, and has previously served as Course Director of the LLM in International Human Rights. She is also a Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (Advance HE). Amna currently serves as Trustee of the United Nations Association - UK.
Amna is an alumna of the University of Warwick, the University of Birmingham, and two prominent Islamic seminaries having received a traditional Islamic education spanning a decade. She holds a UK Research Council funded PhD, having been the successful recipient of the coveted Midlands3Cities scholarship. As a recipient of this award, Amna received the rare privilege of undertaking interdisciplinary research across Birmingham City's School of Law and the University of Birmingham's School of Theology and Religion. Her work was selected as an impact case study by the Research Council and she also received the M3C Cultural Engagement Award for her contributions.
Amna’s research focuses on the UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism and Islamic law, both as separate and interlinked areas, exploring pertinent human rights issues such as capital punishment, freedom of religion, and women and children’s rights. She is also contributing to the enhanced understanding of human dignity in Islam with a specific focus on the use of the death penalty and its engagement with international law. She has been invited by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to advise the British government on their strategy for bilateral engagement in death penalty cases and has held an advisory role to several NGOs.
At the international level, Amna actively participates in the UPR through submission of stakeholder reports to selected states’ review, and engages in UPR Pre-sessions which provide an international platform to directly advocate to government delegations on countries’ human rights landscapes. Her work for the highly influential UPR Project at BCU is regularly cited by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and was shortlisted for the national Times Higher Education Award 2021 for International Collaboration of the Year. Amna is also co-founder of the ‘UPR Academic Network’ which brings together an international network of scholars working on the mechanism.
Amna continues to provide expert submissions and consultancy work in the UN arena and has drafted a report to the Human Rights Committee on General Comment 36 dealing with the global standard on the right to life. She has also been ranked in the top two candidates for appointment by the UN Human Rights Council as the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.
Amna has also facilitated the world renowned ‘Birmingham Qur’an Manuscript’ project, a manuscript which was radiocarbon-dated as one of the earliest fragments of the Qur’an in the world. She received the select invitation to join the curator’s team and exhibit the work in the UAE, working with the British Council and the UAE Ministry of Culture & Knowledge as strategic partners.
Amna holds/has held several research appointments including an Editorship at Harvard Law School’s Program in Islamic Law; Fellowship at the Geneva Academy; Rapporteur of OUP Oxford Reports in International Law; and Chair of The Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Forum at the University of Birmingham. She is regularly invited to present her research at national and international conferences, roundtables and seminars.
As a senior academic, Amna has extensive experience of teaching across various levels including curriculum design and serves as an external examiner at various HEI institutions. She currently teaches Islamic law and/or human rights modules to final year law students and postgraduates, and also supervises doctoral work in these areas. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Dean’s Award and was recently nominated for supportive staff of the year.