Olivier De Schutter

Full Professor at Université catholique de Louvain (Brussels) and Associate Professor, SciencesPo (Paris)


Mr. De Schutter is Professor of Law at the University of Louvain (UCL) and at SciencesPo (Paris), and a member of the Global Law School Faculty at New York University. He holds a LL.M. from Harvard University, a diploma cum laude from the International Institute of Human Rights (Strasbourg) and a Ph.D. in Law from the University of Louvain. He has been lecturer in law at the University of Leicester (UK) and has been teaching European Union law, international and European human rights law and legal theory at numerous universities, including Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne and the College of Europe. He held visiting professorships at Columbia University (2008-2013), at UC Berkeley (2013-2014), where he helped launch the Berkeley Food Institute, and at Yale University (2016-2017).

An expert on social and economic rights and on economic globalization and human rights, he served between 2004 and 2008 as a Secretary General of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), an international human rights NGO with more than 160 member organisations from all world regions. Between 2002 and 2007, he chaired the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights, a high-level group of experts providing advice to the European Parliament and the Commission on the implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. In 2008, Mr. De Schutter was appointed the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, a position he held until 2014. In that capacity he led official missions in Benin, Brazil, China, Cameroon, Canada, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico and South Africa, and he has published a range of reports presented to the Human Rights Council and to the UN General Assembly (see www.srfood.org). He also served as a member of the Scientific Committee of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union (2013-2018), and he is since 2015 a Member of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. He also co-chairs the International Panel on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), a high-level group of experts working through a transdisciplinary approach to develop assessments and proposals for food systems reform.

Mr. De Schutter has published widely on economic and social rights and on the relationship between human rights and development. His most recent books are International Human Rights Law (Cambridge University Press, 2010, 2nd ed. 2014), Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as Human Rights (editor) (Edward Elgar, 2013), Accounting for Hunger. The right to food in the era of globalization (Hart, 2011), Foreign Direct Investment and Human Development. The Law and Economics of International Investment Agreements (Routledge, 2012), Trade in the Service of Sustainable Development (Hart, 2015) and Governing Access to Essential Resources (Columbia Univ. Press, 2015) (co-editor). He is the founder and Editor-in-chief of the European Journal of Human Rights / Journal européen des droits de l’homme.

Mr. De Schutter is the author of several expert reports for the Council of Europe, such as in the framework of the accession process of Central and Eastern European countries to the Council of Europe. He also prepared a number of reports for the European Commission, related to the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and to the preparation of the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for the European Union. He is the author and co-author of dozens of books and articles about issues ranging from European law to immigration law, from transnational corporations to international law. In 2017, he prepared a report on the future of the right to development, at the request of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to serve the work of the High-Level Political Forum ensuring the follow-up of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2013, he was awarded the prestigious Francqui Prize for his contribution to international and European human rights law and to the theory of governance. In 2017, he was the first non-American to be elected a Laureate of the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award for his advocacy for sustainable food systems.

Scroll to Top