Human Rights Council President appoints Lynn Welchman of the United Kingdom to serve on Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic


1 December 2021

GENEVA (1 December 2021) – The President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan of Fiji, announced today the appointment of Lynn Welchman of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to serve as a member of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic established by the Council in August 2011 to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law committed in the country since March 2011.

Ms. Welchman will join Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro of Brazil, Chairperson of the Commission since September 2011, and Hanny Megally of Egypt, who has been a Commission member since October 2017. She will replace Karen Koning AbuZayd of the United States of America, an original member of the three-person body, who recently stepped down from her position after ten years of service. Following Ms. AbuZayd’s final remarks to the Council this past September to present the Commission’s latest report, Council members expressed their deep appreciation to her for her valuable contribution to the work of the United Nations’ premier human rights body over the course of a decade.

Ms. Welchman brings to the Commission vast experience in the field of human rights law with a specialisation in the Middle East and North Africa. Currently serving as Professor of Law at SOAS University of London, her career at SOAS commenced as a lecturer in Islamic Law in 1997, where she has served as the School of Law’s head of department and held a number of other senior positions. At present, Ms. Welchman teaches Islamic law, Gender, Law and Society in the Middle East and North Africa, and Human Rights and Islamic Law. She designed and convenes the International Human Rights Clinic, for which she was joint winner of the SOAS Director’s Prize for Inspirational Teaching in 2019.

After graduating from Cambridge University with Honours, Ms. Welchman worked with several local and international human rights organisations, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa, but also in Haiti and Rwanda. She is a board member of the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Support of Human Rights Defenders, and on the International Advisory Board of the Open Society Foundation’s MENA office. She speaks fluent Arabic.

The Commission of Inquiry is scheduled to present a written report to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council at its next session in March 2022.


For information about the Commission of Inquiry please visit:
For more information about the Human Rights Council please visit:
Media contacts:
Rolando Gómez, HRC Media Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711,; Johan Eriksson, CoI Media Adviser, OHCHR, + 41(0) 76 691 0411,