Thiago holds an LLB (Hons.) from Centro Universitário Curitiba (Brazil) and a Master's Degree in International Human Rights Law from Åbo Akademi University (Finland), where he graduated with honours eximia cum laude approbatur. He is currently in the final year of his DPhil in Law, researching on the topic of offence to religious belief in international human rights law. His research focuses on how international human rights courts have addressed issues of blasphemy, apostasy, and censorship of expressions deemed offensive to religious belief.

Thiago has been actively involved with NGOs, Think Tanks, as well as national and international organisations, having worked with the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, UNESCO, the International Organization for Migration, the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief, the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and Chatham House. 

He has also participated in research activities at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights (University of Oxford) and the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief (University of Oslo); as well as taught in both universities. At Oxford, Thiago was the Graduate Teaching Assistant in Human Rights Law (2015-2017) and a Tutor in Human Rights Law (2016-2018 and 2019-2020). 

Languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish


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  • Thiago Alves Pinto, 'An Empirical Investigation of the Use of Limitations to Freedom of Religion or Belief at the European Court of Human Rights' (2020) 15 Religion & Human Rights 96
    Most literature on freedom of religion or belief argues that there should be a high threshold for the imposition of limitations to the manifestation of the right. However, the practice of the European Court of Human Rights shows that the bar is much lower than academics suggest. This article explores this issue by analysing a plethora of cases and on the basis of interviews with lawyers connected to the Court. While the Court often considers the requirements of legality, legitimacy, and necessity, it does so briefly; focusing mostly on the analysis of proportionality and the margin of appreciation to the State in question. This approach makes the decisions exceedingly subjective and leads to little legal certainty in the area. Therefore, it is suggested that if the Court would analyse all criteria to impose limitations strictly, it could become more efficient while providing greater protection for persons to manifest their religion or belief.
  • Thiago Alves Pinto and Rodrigo Vitorino Souza Alves, 'Investigations on the Use of Limitations to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Brazil' (2020) 15 Religion & Human Rights 77
    The present article analyses cases from top Brazilian courts and has received contributions from several scholars, practitioners, and public officials to better understand the use of limitations to freedom of religion or belief in the country. The Brazilian Constitution provides for the right to freedom of religion or belief as a fundamental right, and other domestic legislation regulates the right, including those implementing international human rights treaties that Brazil has ratified. These laws are easily accessible. Nevertheless, domestic courts seldom rely on such international instruments or the case-law of international bodies in their judgments. Therefore, although these instruments are in force in Brazil, domestic courts do not expressly use or refer to the clauses of permissible limitations of the relevant international and regional human rights instruments, creating a scenario with low levels of legal certainty for those seeking the protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief.
  • Nazila Ghanea and Thiago Alves Pinto, 'Parliamentarians and Freedom of Religion or Belief' (2020) OxHRH Blog
    Parliamentary networks for human rights are not unheard of. Several networks exist which draw attention to the role of parliaments and parliamentarians in the promotion and protection of human rights, for example, the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians. The UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have also drawn attention to parliaments’ engagement with human rights. The idea of a parliamentary network focused on a particular human right, however, is very novel.
  • Juan Pablo Perez-Leon Acevedo and Thiago Alves Pinto, 'Enforcing Freedom of Religion or Belief in Cases Involving Attacks Against Buildings Dedicated to Religion: The Al Mahdi Case at the International Criminal Court' (2019) 37 Berkeley Journal of International Law 437
    The international community has increasingly witnessed widespread and systematic attacks on buildings dedicated to religion in armed conflicts. Such violations of international law have deprived many individuals of places to express their beliefs within their communities. Although international law sources already protect these buildings, recent experience suggests that greater protections are required, particularly in times of armed conflict. This Article seeks to determine the extent to which the International Criminal Court (ICC) can operate to protect human rights, particularly the right to freedom of religion or belief, while dealing with intentional attacks against buildings dedicated to religion. The Al Mahdi case at the ICC provides the analytical foundation for this research. Al Mahdi was convicted in 2016 of the war crime of attacking buildings dedicated to religion. The attack, implemented by a militant group associated with al Qaeda, targeted ten religious buildings in Timbuktu, Mali, severely affecting the city’s religious and cultural diversity. A critical analysis of the Al Mahdi case provides normative guidelines for legal issues arising from the protection of buildings dedicated to religion during armed conflicts. This Article argues that the ICC largely focused on violations of the collective right to cultural life at the expense of a proper consideration of serious breaches of freedom of religion or belief. We also discuss potential interactions between the ICC and international human rights law.
  • Malcolm Evans, Javaid Rehman, Fabio Petito and Thiago Alves Pinto, Article 18: From Rhetoric to Reality (All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief 2017)
  • Iginio Gagliardone, Danit Gal and Thiago Alves Pinto, Countering Online Hate Speech (UNESCO 2015)
    French version: Arabic version:
    ISBN: 978-92-3-100105-5
  • Thiago Alves Pinto, 'Avilkina and others v Russia' (2014) 3 Oxford Journal of Law and Religion 181 [Case Note]
    DOI: 10.1093/ojlr/rwt049
  • Juan Pablo Perez-Leon Acevedo and Thiago Alves Pinto, 'Correspondents’ Reports, Peru' (2011) 14 Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law 1 [Case Note]
    DOI: 10.1007/978-90-6704-855-2

Research programmes


Research Interests

Human Rights Law; Law and Religion; Public International Law; Business and Human Rights

Options taught

Human Rights Law

Research projects