Watson Institute for International Studies

Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro

Adjunct Professor of International Studies


Paolo Pinheiro is adjunct professor of international studies at the Watson Institute.

Previously, Pinheiro was professor of political science at the University of São Paulo, USP, in Brazil and at the State University of Campinas, UNICAMP. He has been a Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and a Guggenheim Fellow. He has also taught in the US, at Columbia University and Notre Dame; in Paris, at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme; and in the UK, at Oxford University.

He has published many articles, essays, and books on social history, democracy, violence, and human rights. Among them, with co-editors Ignacy Sachs and Jorge Wilheim, is Brazil: A Century of Change (University of North Carolina Press, 2009).

In 2003 Pinheiro was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as independent expert to prepare an in-depth study on violence against children. He presented the World Report on Violence against Children in 2006 and has since followed up the recommendations of the report with work that was profiled in 2009 in the Lancet medical journal.

Pinheiro held the position of UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Burundi from 1995 to 1998 and in Myanmar from 2000 to 2008. He was also a member of the former UN Sub-Commission for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights. There, in 2006, he presented the United Nations Principles on Housing and Property Restitutions for Displaced Persons (the"Pinheiro Principles"), which were followed in 2007 by the interagency Handbook on Housing and Property Restitution for Refugees and Displaced Persons: Implementing the 'Pinheiro Principles.'

Since September 2011, he has served as the chairperson of the UN independent international commission of inquiry on Syria.

Pinheiro served as Brazil's secretary of state for human rights under President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and as rapporteur of the Brazilian government's National Human Rights Plans of 1996 and 2002.

He holds a BA in Law from the Catholic University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil a doctorat ès sciences politiques from the Institut d'Études Politiques and a livre docência in political science from the University of Sao Paulo.


"The Imperative of a Political Settlement in Syria: Perspectives of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry" in the European Yearbook on Human Rights 2013

News|Recent News

Pinheiro to Receive UN Human Rights Award

September 21, 2012

Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Syria and a leading human rights expert, will receive the Leo Nevas Human Rights Award at the UN's Global Leadership Awards Dinner in New York next month. Pinheiro, who is adjunct professor of international studies at the Institute, currently chairs a group tasked by the UN Human Rights Council with uncovering human rights abuses in Syria.


Talks & Media

September 18, 2013 speech to the UNHRC (text)

September 18, 2013 Deutsche Welle interview (English)

September 16, 2013 interview in Folha de Sao Paulo

September 11, 2013 speech on protection of civilians (video)

August 16, 2013 report on human rights violations in Syria

April 4, 2012 interview on Al Arabiya

March 22, 2012 interview with Global Observatory