Alfred-Maurice de Zayas 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 .During its 27th session in September 2014 the Human Rights Council extended his mandate through 2018 pursuant to resolution A/HRC/RES/27/9. De Zayas is currently a professor of international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, 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, Secretary of the Human Rights Committee, and the Chief of Petitions. Zayas practised law in New York and Florida 1970-74 specializing on corporate law De Zayas' work focuses inter alia on the judicial protection of peoples and minorities. He holds a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and a doctorate in modern history from the University of Göttingen in Germany. He has written and lectured extensively on human rights, including the jurisprudence of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust the US-run detention centers at Guantanamo Bay, ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, the expulsion of Eastern European Germans after the Second World War, the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey in 1974, the rights of minorities, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the rights of indigenous peoples. and unfair trade relations He is an advocate of "the right to homeland" as a universal human right, of the human right to peace, of the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly and a World Court on Human Rights, and has been active on behalf of the Iranian refugees in Camp Ashraf in Iraq.Since his early retirement from the UN in 2003, de Zayas has become a vocal critic of the 2003 Iraq War indefinite detention in Guantanamo, secret CIA prisons, nuclear pollution, asymmetric trade and investment agreements, and extreme poverty.A resident of Geneva, he was President of the Suisse Romand Centre of International PEN from 2006–09, and in March 2013 was elected president for a further term of three years. From 1990 to 2005 he was president of the United Nations Society of Writers and is currently the editor-in-chief of UNSW’s literary journal Ex Tempore.