Sejal Parmar is Senior Lecturer at the School of Law and Politics at Cardiff University.
An international human rights law scholar and practitioner, Parmar is currently on academic leave whilst working as the ESRC/AHRC Policy Fellow in Foreign Policy and Disinformation, with a focus on human rights, at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Parmar’s main field of research, policy engagement, and teaching is international human rights law. She has particular expertise in the area of freedom of expression, including on issues of media freedom, digital rights, and harmful speech, including hate speech and disinformation.
Parmar has published broadly in the field of international human rights law, particularly in the area of freedom of expression. She is an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Human Rights.
Parmar is currently a fellow at the Centre for Freedom of the Media at the School of Journalism at the University of Sheffield and at the Center for Media, Data and Society at the Central European University. She is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Foreign Policy Centre in London.
She has been a EU-US Fulbright Scholar and Emile Noël Fellow at New York University School of Law, a Marie Curie Fellow at the Amsterdam Centre for International Law, and a visiting scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School.
Parmar has convened and taught a range of modules in her previous full-time academic roles at the Department of Legal Studies and the then School of Public Policy (now Department of Public Policy) at the Central European University (CEU) and the School of Law at the University of Sheffield. These include modules in the field of international human rights law and practice – including International Human Rights Law, the UN Human Rights System, International Human Rights Advocacy, and Model United Nations – and in the particular thematic area of freedom of expression – including Freedom of Expression in Practice, Media Freedom and Human Rights, and Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age.
She has also taught modules in international and European human rights law as a Visiting Lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London, the University of Edinburgh, and University College London.
Parmar's teaching was Highly Commended for the 2022 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Learning and Teaching in Employability at the University of Sheffield and recognised through her nomination for the 2020 Teaching Excellence Award at CEU.
She holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching for Learning in Higher Education (PGCert) and is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).
Before coming to Cardiff, Parmar was a Lecturer in Law, Director of the Human Rights Forum, Deputy Director of the Sheffield Centre for International and Comparative Law (SCIEL), and Deputy Director of Research (Impact) at the School of Law at the University of Sheffield and a regular Visiting Professor at the Department of Legal Studies at the Central European University (CEU). Before that, she was a tenured Assistant Professor at the Department of Legal Studies and Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy (now Department of Public Policy) at CEU in Budapest and then in Vienna.
Alongside her academic career, Parmar has accrued extensive experience of policymaking, having worked as Senior Adviser to the Organization on Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media (on secondment from the then Foreign and Commonwealth Office) at the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna and as Senior Legal Officer at ARTICLE 19 at its global headquarters in London. She is currently the ESRC/AHRC Policy Fellow in Foreign Policy and Disinformation, with a focus on human rights, at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Parmar regularly acts as an independent consultant and expert. She has held a number major consultancies with various intergovernmental bodies (within the United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe, and OSCE), leading human rights NGOs, and technology companies on such issues as the human rights responsibilities of social media platforms, the regulation of harmful content (particularly disinformation and hate speech), freedom of expression and climate misinformation, and the right to health-related information.
In 2020, she worked as a consultant for the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect in New York and many other UN entities and field offices around the world to develop and draft two key UN texts in the realm of hate speech, specifically the Detailed Guidance on the implementation of the UN Strategy and Action Plan on Hate Speech and the Guidance Note on Addressing and Countering COVID-19 Related Hate Speech.
Parmar served as an independent member (appointed by the Council of Europe Secretary-General) and Co-Rapporteur of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on Combating Hate Speech (ADI/MSI-DIS) from 2020 to 2021. The committee drafted Recommendation CM/Rec(2022)16 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on combating hate speech which was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 20 May 2022.
She is a member of the academic constituency of the Global Network Initiative and an expert at Global Freedom of Expression at Columbia University.