Ms Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

Ms Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders © UN PhotoMs. Mary Lawlor took up the mandate of Special Rapport on the situation of human rights defender on 1 May 2020, following the Human Rights Council decision 43/115.

Ms. Lawlor is currently an Adjunct Professor of Business and Human Rights in the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), School of Business, Trinity College Dublin. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the School of Business.

She has worked extensively with and on the situation of human rights defenders. In 2001 she founded Front Line Defenders - the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders to concentrate on human rights defenders at risk. As Executive Director from 2001-2016, Ms. Lawlor represented Front Line Defenders and had a key role in its development. 

Ms. Lawlor was previously the Director of the Irish Section of Amnesty International from 1988 to 2000, became a Board member in 1975 and was elected Chair from 1983 to 1987.

She has a BA in Psychology and Philosophy and postgraduate degrees in Montessori Teaching and Personnel Management.

Ms. Lawlor is on the Advisory Board of the Centre for Ethics in Public Life, School of Philosophy, University College Dublin.