About me

Alfred de ZayasAlfred M. de Zayas studied history and law at Harvard, where he obtained his J.D. in 1970. He practiced corporate law with the New York law firm Simpson Thacher and Bartlett and is a retired member of the New York and Florida Bar. He obtained a doctorate in history from the University of Göttingen in Germany in 1977.

Mr. de Zayas has been visiting professor of law at numerous universities including the University of British Columbia in Canada, the Graduate Institute of the University of Geneva, and the University of Trier (Germany) and the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (Spain). At present he teaches international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy.

DSCN0622From 1981 to 2003 he was a senior lawyer with the Division of Human Rights/ Centre for Human Rights/ Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Secretary of the UN Human Rights Committee, and Chief of the Petitions Department. In 2009 de Zayas was a member of the UN workshop that drafted a report on the human right to peace, which was subsequently discussed and further elaborated by the Advisory Committee of the Human
Rights Council, and led to the pertinent General Assembly resolution.

From May 2012 to April 2018 he served as the first Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order and produced 14 reports to the Human Rights Council and UN General Assembly. He served as a consultant to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the issue of self-determination and mercenaries. De Zayas is an expert for civil and political rights and has published nine books on a variety of legal and historical issues, including “United Nations Human Rights Committee Case Law” (together with Jakob Tth. Möller, N.P. Engel 2009), and has been co-author and co-editor of numerous other books, including “International Human Rights Monitoring Mechanisms” (together with Gudmundur Alfredsson and Bertrand Ramcharan).

His scholarly articles in the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford Encyclopedia of Human Rights and Macmillan Encyclopedia of Genocide, encompass the prohibition of aggression, universal jurisdiction, the right to the homeland, mass population transfers, minority rights, refugee law, repatriation, legal aspects of the Spanish Civil War, indefinite detention, Guantáanamo, the Marshall Plan, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the right to peace. He is fluent in six languages and has published a book of Rilke translations with commentary (“Larenopfer”, Red Hen Press 2008) and is now completing the translation of Hermann Hesse’s “Das Lied des Lebens.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 13.08.16From 2002-2006 he was Secretary-General, from 2006-2010 and again from 2013 to 2017 President of PEN International, Centre Suisse romand. He is member of several advisory boards, including of the International Society of Human Rights (Frankfurt a.M.), Zentrum gegen Vertreibungen (Berlin), the International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (Canada) and of the conseil scientifique of the Académie International de droit constitutionnel (Tunis).

He has received several awards, most recently the “Educators Award 2011” of Canadians for Genocide Education.

44 thoughts on “About me

  1. Dear Prof. de Zayas, Muy buena! I am Richard Huang from Taipei Delegation. Could you please respond to my email? Thank you. Gracias. Merci. Xiexie. Arigato.

    Liked by 1 person



      1. dear prof de zayas, i wish to ask an opinion on the kashmiri pandit genocide..i have just began to study the Armenian genocide and find a lot of similarities between the two…i wanted to understand a few things and hence wished to write an email..can you pls share your’s…


  2. Dear Mr Zayas,

    I am sorry for disrupting your blog but I was wondering whether a new edition of your co-authored book “United Nations Human Rights Committee Case Law 1977 – 2008 A Handbook” will be released, and if so, when?

    Thank you!


    1. I am willing to update it, but have not persuaded the publisher to do so yet


  3. Dear prof. de Zayas,
    I would like to get in touch with you regarding my IL master’s thesis concerning the ‘legal classification of the post-WWII attrocities committed against ethnic germans and people of german ancestry. I have read all your books about this particular subject and I have a few questions regarding the sources you have used.
    I would appreciate it immensely if you would be willing to help me.
    Thank you,
    Nikki Ancher


    1. Dear Nikki

      as to your masters thesis — please write me at zayas@bluewin.ch


  4. Dear Alfred,

    I have taken the freedom to re-use an image of yours, in an article embedding your statement against ISDS on the UN Human Rights Council in TPP Debate, a website just launched in Malaysia to allow the public to express their opinion on the TPP:


    If this is not right, please let me know and I’ll remove the image.

    Leonardo Losoviz


    1. Dear Leonardo,

      Thanks for using information from my blog on your website. To answer your kind request, I would recommend adding a short sentence pointing out the image belongs to the UN. Therefore, you should add: “photo credit: UN” in your post.

      Kind regards,


      1. Dear Alfred,

        thanks for your generosity. I have added the credit, as requested.

        Btw, this website will hopefully bring awareness of ISDS to Malaysians, who are on the brink of signing into the TPP. I have seen your statement has been quoted by some organizations to warn about the dangers of ISDS, such as the Third World Network in this article:


        I will continue linking this information together. If TPP were of any concern to you, please do share the TPP Debate website with your colleagues (academicians, intellectuals, etc), they might want to contribute their own research on the matter. Even though the website is focused on Malaysia, this issue is of current concern to all 12 countries and I’m inviting stakeholders from all countries to contribute.

        Hopefully members of parliament in each country will pay attention when a proper reasoning is put forward, and not sign just from political pressure (even though I certainly doubt it, however I don’t lose my hope).

        Best regards,
        Leonardo Losoviz

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Can I please speak to you about the Armenian genocide? Me and some other people have started a special project about this topic. Greetings.


  6. Trying to reach Rodrigo de Zayas, for a book about his distant cousin Pauline de Rothschild.


    1. I too have lost contact with Rodrigo. Try reaching him through his editor Editorial Almuzara


  7. Please be invited to discuss with us on the topic of Peoples without a State:



  8. Dear Prof. Alfred,

    He leído sus relevantes aportes, reflexiones y posturas en relación a los impactos de los Tratados de Comercio sobre los Derechos Humanos. Me gustaria consultarle especificamente en relación a los posibles impactos del TISA sobre el derecho a la educación.

    Cordiales saludos,


  9. Dear Professor De Zayas,

    In 2000 I had a pleasure to meet you at the conference on Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe, held at Dusquesne University in Pittsburgh NJ, US. Because of the organizers’ foibles we were placed in a single room and had to share the same king-size bed. I hope I did not snore too much. At that conference I presented a paper on the 1944-45 ethnic cleansing of Germans and Silesians in Upper Silesia.

    At present I work as reader of modern central Europe in the School of History at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, UK (see: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/history/staff/tomaszkamusella.html ; tomek672@gmail.com).

    I am writing because after half a decade in works, I finished a monograph on the unduly forgotten 1989 expulsion of Bulgarian Turks. I claim that without remembering about this ethnic cleansing it is impossible to explain the dynamics and timing of the fall of communism in Bulgaria, alongside the nature of the subsequent process of systemic transition to democracy and market economy in this country. What is more, on the plane of international relations, I claim that this unprecedented (after 1950 in postwar Europe) event is the explanation why prospective ethnic cleansers in Yugoslavia thought – quite reasonably – that they could proceed with mass expulsions and genocide-scale massacres with impunity. Neither the East nor the West reacted when Communist Bulgaria’s leader, Todor Zhivkov, ordered the expulsion of 360,000 Bulgarian Turks in the summer of 1989. Zhivkov was never indicted let alone punished for this crime against humanity. Other indictments against him on lesser charges had been dropped quietly by 1995.

    I wonder, whether drawing on your decades-long research on ethnic cleansing and expulsions, you could consider writing a preface to my forthcoming monograph.

    In order to let you decide, below I enclose the book’s abstract and table of contents. Should you like it, I could also forward you with the manuscript.

    Yours truly,

    Tomasz Kamusella

    The Forgotten 1989 Ethnic Cleansing of Bulgaria’s Turks

    Tomasz Kamusella

    University of St Andrews


    In the summer of 1989, the Bulgarian communist regime seeking to prop up its rapidly waning legitimacy played the ethnonational card by expelling 360,000 Turks and Muslims across the Iron Curtain to Turkey. It was the single largest ethnic cleansing during the Cold War period in Europe after the wrapping up the postwar ‘transfers’ (that is, expulsions as approved at the Potsdam Conference) of ethnic Germans from Central Europe by the turn of the 1950s. Furthermore, this expulsion of Turks and Muslims from Bulgaria was the sole ethnic cleansing that breached the Iron Curtain. The 1989 ethnic cleansing (ironically known as the ‘Big Excursion’), after the collapse of the Bulgarian communist regime in late 1989, was followed by an unprecedented return of almost half of the expellees to Bulgaria. The return, which partially reversed the effects of this ethnic cleansing, was the first-ever of its kind. Despite the unprecedented character of this 1989 expulsion and the subsequent return, not a single research article, let alone a monograph, has been devoted to these events. This study aspires to start filling in the lacuna through giving an overview of the ethnic cleansing and the return through the lens of the international Anglophone press, but also with the use of Bulgarian, German, Polish, Turkish and Yugoslav (that is, Croatian, Serbian and Slovenian) newspapers. Besides calling for a wide international probe into this ethnic cleansing, I conclude by offering a reflection on how this tragic event shaped today’s Bulgaria, and how the persisting attempts to suppress the remembrance of the 1989 expulsion sharply divide Bulgarian society nowadays. The yet unhealed conflict also brushes off negatively onto the country’s relations with Turkey and the European Union.

    Keywords: 1989, Bulgaria, ‘Big Excursion,’ conflict resolution, ethnic cleansing, expulsion of Turks and Muslims from Bulgaria to Turkey, lieu de mémoire, peace studies, right to homeland, Turkey

    Table of Contents


    On Forgetfulness and Its Perils

    The State of Research on the 1989 Expulsion

    The 1989 Ethnic Cleansing Through the Lens of the International Press

    The Ethnic Cleansing’s Aftermath and the Regime Change
    The Official Coming to Terms with the 1989 Ethnic Cleansing

    Between Language and Millet
    The Question of Responsibility


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear tomasz

      I am vacationing in Iceland
      Will revert after 1 August
      Kind regards


  10. Hello Professor De Zayas, Sir

    do you allow to ask about Völkerrecht ?
    Möglichst in deutscher Sprache.

    Thanks a lot


  11. Bonsoir Monsieur de Zayas,

    Vous organisez une soirée de lecture pour Madame Suzan Samanci au début de l’année 2017. Si vous avez besoin d’un coup de main, je suis là.

    Meilleures salutations,

    Bernard Antoine Rouffaer
    Orbis Terrae


    1. Can we have an EN translation please of this article?

      Thank you.


      1. Chers mesdames et messieurs,

        malheureusement, il n’y a pas de traduction en anglais. Ce texte est uniquement disponible en allemand. De mes textes ci-dessous sur le référendum catalan et l’application de l’article 155 de la Constitution espagnole, des traductions en catalan sont en cours de préparation, que je pourrais vous envoyer dès qu’elles seront disponibles. Les deux articles contiennent essentiellement les mêmes arguments que le texte que vous aimeriez avoir.

        Prof. Dr. Axel Schönberger

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Dear Axel,

        Thank you for your contribution but you need to look further than Spain. The biggest hurdle for the right of self-determination is the United Nations system itself. Now, De Zayas cannot say this because most probably he has signed a document which forbids him to do so.

        Most UN experts know very well that this corrupt system is a waste of time serving only the 1%, but they wait until retirement to say so.

        More info on :




      3. Estimados señoras y señores:

        puede ser que sea así. Pero las ideas son poderosas y funcionan a lo largo de los siglos. Los pactos de los Derechos Humanos datan de los años sesenta del siglo XX. Solo en cientos de años finalmente será posible decir si fueron capaces de desarrollar su poder. Depende de todos nosotros defender los derechos humanos y luchar para un mundo mejor y más justo. Si no lo intentamos, lo hemos perdido de todos modos.

        Cataluña tiene derecho a decidir si quiere ser soberana o una región de España. Ya ha tomado esta decisión. La República de Cataluña fue proclamada, y ahora le corresponde a los catalanes hacerla realidad.

        Los siguientes textos aparecieron tambén en catalán:



        Prof. Dr. Axel Schönberger


      4. Gentili signore e signori,

        nel frattempo, un altro articolo è stato pubblicato da me su questo argomento (in catalano):


        Il mio articolo sull’applicazione dell’articolo 155 della Costituzione spagnola sarà presto pubblicata anche in catalano.

        Distinti saluti!

        Prof. Dr. Axel Schönberger


      5. Queridos senhoras e senhores,

        entretanto apareceu, em alemão e em catalão, outro texto meu sobre as violações maciças de Direitos Humanos cometidas pela Espanha na Catalunha:




        Com os meus melhores cumprimentos,

        Prof. Dr. Axel Schönberger


      6. Spain is doing what the UN expects it to do, keep the country together.

        Energy should go to real UN reform to make art 1 of ICCPR finally reality.

        Do not waste time on individual member states. The UN decision making procedures are the elephant in the room.



  12. Estimado Sr. de Zayas,

    en cuanto a las violaciones masivas de los derechos humanos en Cataluña, me gustaría llamar su atención sobre otro artículo sobre la aplicación del artículo 155 de la Constitución española:


    Lamentablemente, los estados europeos están apoyando y tolerando las violaciones de los derechos humanos en Cataluña, violando así una de las bases fundamentales de la Unión Europea y negando el valor universal de los derechos humanos. En Alemania, una gran parte de la prensa no informa objetivamente sobre el conflicto entre el estado español y el pueblo catalán, sino que se hace cargo de la opinión oficial del gobierno español. Un portavoz del gobierno alemán incluso dijo en una conferencia de prensa que las leyes españolas son duras, pero leyes, añadiendo que las reglas en cuestión de la Constitución española con respecto a la unidad de España — ¡de las cuales aparentemente se supone que están por encima de los derechos humanos! — necesariamente deben seguirse siempre.

    Si Europa no se despierta rápidamente, pierde su base moral, su credibilidad internacional y su viabilidad como proyecto político. Los actuales líderes europeos no parecen querer la democracia, sino que prefieren cultivar una demofobia postdemocrática.

    Axel Schönberger


  13. Greetings Alfred,
    Been a while, and think this might be of interest to assist:

    That was the 1st interview that was done, and there have
    been more since on the same youtube channel.

    Pray all is well with you and loved ones,


  14. Estimado señor de Zayas,

    en una entrevista sobre Cataluña con la revista alemana «Der Stern» (www.stern.de), llamé la atención de los lectores alemanes sobre su texto «4 Questions on Catalonia»:


    Parece que ya la leyeron aproximadamente 2.500.000 lectores.

    Axel Schönberger


  15. Estimado señor de Zayas:

    Esta entrevista también ha sido publicada en catalán en la revista «L’Unilateral — Digital de la República Catalana», refiriendose también a su texto «4 Questions on Catalonia»:

    http://unilateral.cat/2018/03/30/axel-schonberger-actualment-la-separacio-de-poders-a-lestat-espanyol-esta-suspesa/ Catalunya endavant! Axel Schönberger

    Axel Schönberger


  16. Nelson Armitage July 24, 2018 — 12:25 am

    Aloha Mr. Alfred de Zayas,

    Your special contribution to have a better understanding of those lacking hope for Humanity is untouchable. Your devoted time and energy make a World difference, not for one, but for all, I am very humbled to have received from a family member here in the Hawaiian Islands, being introduced to your dedication and respect for Independent Nations, States, and Countries.

    Thank you for providing an outline that supports true “States,” who are under the obstruction of other foreign state and their entities, their disrespect to adhere to the Covenant overlook, where these obligations are ignored (24/7/365), what has remained is the lack of respect for unresolved and outstanding matters for the past 125 years, is the responsibility of U.S.A., and the puppet [state] for the biggest Ponzi scheme in Hawaiian History.

    Again thank you for your written documents that serve and protect the right for humanity as a devotion, is far superior.

    Nelson K. Armitage Sr.


  17. Dear Mister De Zayas, we need a Photo from you to mak a Telecast: the interview with You and Abby Martin from RT.


  18. Dear Mister De Zayas, we need a Photo from you to mak a Telecast: the interview with You and Abby Martin from RT.
    We take a photo from your interview with Huib J. Lirb. The telecast was on air 10.04.2019 at 19:45 h at kla.tv


    1. Please send me your email address and I will reply accordingly


  19. Here is my adress.


  20. Greetings Professor; I read ‘Asphyxiating Venezuela…’ with great interest, and wonder if you would be interested in appearing on my public affairs program to discuss this, the US reversal on Cuba rapprochement, Venezuela, Julian Assange extradition, and other matters of the moment?
    Gorilla Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in State and Corporate media. Gorilla Radio airs live Thursdays between 11-12 noon Pacific Time. Airing in Victoria at 101.9FM, and featured on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca and http://www.pacificfreepress.com. And check out Pacific Free Press on Twitter @Paciffreepress


    1. Please share with me your email address


      1. Thanks for getting back. I can be found at lex at highspeedplus dot com


  21. Dear Mr.De Zayas, sorry to bother you here but I can’t find the e-mail to contact you so I thought I’d try here. I’d really like to interview you on imperialism, Venezuela, Syria, the issue of sanctions, and more depending how much time you can permit me. I host a small independent show called 1+1. If you’d like to do an interview middle of this week or the weekend after the July 4th weekend, it’d be a real honor to speak to you. I hope all is well and look forward to your response and hopefully the honor to get the chance to interview you. best wishes till then and take care! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close