Kathleen Cavanaugh is socio-legal scholar and currently a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, Irish Centre for Human Rights (ICHR), National University of Ireland, Galway. She holds a PhD in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics & Political Science (1997) and a LL.M (Distinction) from the Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland (1998). She has held several Visiting Lectureships including: Visiting Research Fellow, Minerva Centre for Human Rights, Hebrew University, Israel (2001), and Visiting Lecturer, Department of International Relations, Boston University, Massachusetts, USA (1998) and was awarded a Fellowship at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford (2006-7).  

Her areas of expertise include: nationalism, ethnic conflict, political violence, states of emergency, narratives on Islamic law and rights, freedom of religion and militant democracy. Selected recent publications include: ‘Turkey’s Hidden Wars,’ Harvard Human Rights Journal, (Spring 2018) ‘Rethinking What is Necessary in a Democratic Society: Militant Democracy and the Turkish State,’ Human Rights Quarterly, (August 2016) ‘Unspoken Truths: Accessing Rights for Victims of Extraordinary Rendition,’ Columbia Human Rights Law Review, (Winter 2015); and Minority Rights in the Middle East, OUP (2013) (with Joshua Castellino). Recent grant awards include a 2-year Leverhulme/British Academy of Sciences project grant on Militant Democracy in Turkey.

She held the position of Chair of the Executive Committee of Amnesty International Ireland (2004-2010), a member of the International Policy Committee of Amnesty International and a Board member of Amnesty International USA (2012-2015).  As a consultant, she has undertaken numerous missions on behalf of Amnesty International including to Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine and to Iraq (where she focussed on the conduct of the occupying powers with relation to detention and security).  She has conducted trainings for governmental as well as non-governmental organisations throughout the Middle East (Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon, and Sudan), India, and the Republic of Ireland.