Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro (Brazil)
Mr. Pinheiro is a Brazilian academic and political science scholar. Within the United Nations System, he served as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (2000-2008). Since 2011, he has served as Chairman of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry for Syria.
He also served as United Nations Special Rapporteur for Burundi from 1995 to 1999 and was a member of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. From 2003 to 2010 Mr. Pinheiro was commissioner and rapporteur on children at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States.
In 2003, Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Mr. 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. This was presented to the General assembly in 2006.
In Brazil, he is currently one of seven members of the Brazilian Truth Commission created in 2012 by President Roussef, examining human rights violations during the military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985.
He has a long and distinguished career in academia. He is adjunct professor international relations visiting at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies. Previously, he also held academic positions at the University of São Paulo, Columbia University, Notre Dame University, Oxford University, and the École des hautes études en Sciences sociales.
Karen Koning Abuzayd (United States)
Within the United Nations System, in August 2000, Ms. AbuZayd was appointed to the rank of Assistant Secretary General as Deputy Commissioner-General of UNRWA. On 28 June 2005, she appointed to the rank of Under Secretary-General as UNRWA Commissioner-General and served in that position until 10 January 2010. From her base in Gaza, she helped to oversee the education, health, social services and microenterprise programmes for 4.1 million Palestinian refugees. Since 2011, she has served as a Commissioner of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry for Syria.
Before joining UNRWA, Ms. AbuZayd worked for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for 19 years. She began her humanitarian career in the Sudan in 1981, dealing with Ugandan, Chadian and Ethiopian refugees fleeing from war and famine in their own countries. From the Sudan, she moved to Namibia in 1989 to help coordinate the return of apartheid-era refugees, a successful repatriation operation which led to elections and independence. A year later, the Liberian civil war erupted, and she moved to Sierra Leone to head the UNHCR office in Freetown, initiating a new emergency response, that of settling 100,000 Liberians in 600 villages along the Liberian/Sierra Leone border.
From 1991 to 1993 in UNHCR’s Geneva headquarters, Ms. AbuZayd directed the South African repatriation operation and the Kenyan-Somali cross-border operation. She left Geneva to go to Sarajevo as Chief of Mission for two years during the Bosnian war. Four million displaced and war-affected people were kept alive by UNHCR’s airlift and convoy activities, while thousands more were protected from ethnic cleansing by a UNHCR presence. Her last four years with UNHCR were spent as Chef de Cabinet to High Commissioner Sadako Ogata and as Regional Representative for the United States and the Caribbean, where she focused on funding, public information and the legal issues of asylum-seekers.
Before joining the UNHCR, Ms. AbuZayd lectured in political science and Islamic studies at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, and at Juba University in southern Sudan. She earned her B.Sc. at DePauw University in Indiana and her M.A. in Islamic Studies at McGill University in Canada.
Hanny Megally (Egypt)
Mr. Megally has over 40 years of experience conducting and directing investigations and advocacy on human rights violations and humanitarian emergencies. He is currently a senior fellow at the New York University Centre on International Cooperation leading a program on dealing with the root causes of violent extremism. Prior to this, he has worked at senior levels of both civil society – having served with several international non-governmental organisations - and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, where he was the Director of the Asia, Pacific, Middle East and North Africa Branch (2011-2015).
He was the Acting President of the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) from 2009-2010 and thereafter Vice President for Programs (2010 – 2011). He had served previously as ICTJ’s Director of Middle East and North Africa from 2003-2006. Mr. Megally was the Executive Director for the Middle East and North Africa for Human Rights Watch from 1997-2003. He also headed Amnesty International’s programs in the Middle East from 1984 to 1993 and served as their researcher in the region from 1977 until 1984.
Mr. Megally holds a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern History and Politics from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies. He did graduate studies at the London School of Economics. He speaks English, Arabic and French.