Alfred de Zayas

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Person.png Alfred de Zayas   AmazonRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(lawyer, writer, historian)
Alfred de Zayas.JPG
Born31 May 1947
Havana, Cuba
NationalityUnited States

Alfred-Maurice de Zayas (born 31 May 1947, Havana, Cuba) is an American lawyer, writer, historian, a leading expert in the field of human rights and international law and retired high-ranking United Nations official. Since 2012, he has been the UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order (appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council).[1][2]

De Zayas is a professor of international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations,[3] and formerly worked with the United Nations from 1981 to 2003 as a senior lawyer with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,[4] Secretary of the Human Rights Committee,[5] and the Chief of Petitions.[6]

Since his early retirement from the UN in 2003, de Zayas has become a vocal critic of the 2003 Iraq War[7][8] indefinite detention without trial[9] in Guantanamo, secret CIA prisons, nuclear pollution, asymmetric trade and investment agreements, and extreme poverty.[10]

On 24 January 2019, Professor de Zayas said the US was violating international law by attempting a coup in Venezuela:

"There is nothing more undemocratic than a coup d’état. We should be asking ourselves: Do we want a coup d’état in Venezuela? And what legitimacy would the government of Guaidó have? And what kind of elections would be held? Now, there have been, as I said, 26 or 27 elections in Venezuela since 1998. And President Jimmy Carter went repeatedly to Venezuela to monitor those elections. And Carter had a very good opinion of the system and of the safeguards of elections in Venezuela. So, if the opposition really considers itself democratic, it has to play the democratic game, and it has to participate in the elections. They have chosen to boycott the elections over the last years."[11]


A Document by Alfred de Zayas

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)Description
Document:The Expulsion of the Germansbook extract2003Other Losses
Cultural genocide
World War II/War crimes
A brief resume of the circumstances surrounding the expulsion of 15 million ethnic Germans from their homes in the Czech Sudetanland and areas East of the Oder and Neise rivers between 1944 and 1948, in which over 2 million died horribly. It is just one of many outrages committed by the victorious WWII allies against an innocent and defenceless, ethnically German, civilian population and remains the biggest 'ethnic cleansing' crime in history - but shhhh, mustn't talk about it


Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Sanctions of Mass Destruction: America’s War on VenezuelaArticle1 February 2019Garikai ChenguAmerica’s largest export used to be manufactured goods made proudly in the United States. Today, America’s largest export is the US dollar. Any nation like Venezuela that threatens that export is met with America’s second largest export: weapons, chief amongst which are Sanctions of Mass Destruction.
Document:Why is the CBC Lying About VenezuelaArticle17 October 2018Alison BodineIt is our responsibility as people living in the United States and Canada to elevate the voices of poor, working and oppressed people in Venezuela who support the revolutionary government of President Nicolás Maduro.


  2. Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,; accessed 14 December 2015.
  4. A. de Zayas "Human Rights, United Nations High Commissioner for" in H. Volger (ed.) Concise Encyclopedia of the United Nations, Kluwer, the Hague, 2002, pp. 217–23, reviewed by Ruth Wedgwood in the American Journal of International Law, vol. 99, pp. 284–87, at 285;
  5. Excerpts from the 100th session of the Human Rights Committee on Vimeo
  6. A. de Zayas, "United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights" in Rudolf Bernhardt (ed.) Encyclopaedia of Public International Law, Vol. 4, 2000, Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 1129–32
  11. "Former UN Expert: The US Is Violating International Law by Attempting a Coup in Venezuela"