Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Heiner Bielefeldt

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Heiner Bielefeldt

Professor, Lehrstuhlinhaber

Institute of Political Science
Chair in Human Rights and Human Rights Politics

Room: Room 4.028
Kochstr. 4, Postfach Nr. 5
91054 Erlangen

Office hours


Jede Woche Mo, 12:00 - 14:00, Room 4.028, im Vorlesungszeitraum SoSe 2024

Curriculum Vitae

Heiner Bielefeldt was born in 1958 in the school building of a small village near Aachen. After the conclusion of his school education, he studied philosophy, theology and history at the Universities of Bonn and Tübingen. In 1989, he completed his PhD thesis on social contract theories and their impact on contemporary constitutional theory. In 2000, he finished his habilitation (= postdoctoral) degree at the university of Bremen with a thesis on the philosophy of human rights. Bielefeldt held teaching positions in different faculties at the universities of Mannheim, Heidelberg, Toronto, Bremen, Bielefeld and Erlangen-Nuremberg.

From early on, Heiner Bielefeldt became interested in human rights issues, both as an activist and as an academic. Between 2003 and 2009 he served as Director of the German Institute for Human Rights (based in Berlin), which is the officially accredited national human rights institution of Germany. In 2009, he took the newly established chair of human rights and human rights politics at the university of Erlangen-Nuremberg. From 2016 to 2019, he also held the position of a Professor 2 at the Human Rights Centre of the University of Oslo. Bielefeldt’s research interests include different interdisciplinary facets of human rights theory and practice, with a particular focus on freedom of religion or belief. He published numerous articles, reports and books in different languages (see list of publications).

From 2010 to 2016, Heiner Bielefeldt served as the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, which is a worldwide mandate, originally established in 1986. In discharging his mandate, he undertook country inspections and presented reports to various UN forums (all available at the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:

Bielefeldt has been honorary professor at the law faculty of the University of Bielefeld since 2007. He received an honorary doctorate from the theological faculty of the University of Lucern/ Swizzerland (2014), the annual religious freedom service award of the Brigham Young University in Provo/ USA (2016) and the Alfons-Auer Ethics Award of the catholic theological faculty of the University of Tübingen (2017). He is member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences on Humanities. The OUP Commentary on “Freedom of Religion or Belief”, co-authored with Nazila Ghanea and Michael Wiener, received the 2018 Guiseppe Alberigo Award (Category A) by the European Academy of Religion in Bologna. In October 2017, the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier awarded Bielefeldt with the Order of Merits (Bundesverdienstkreuz Erster Klasse).


Theorie und Praxis der Menschenrechte, politische Ideengeschichte, philosophische Ethik,
Rechtsphilosophie, interkulturelle Philosophie, Religions- und Weltanschauungsfreiheit


Recent publications

Buchcover Sources of Society

Sources of Solidarity. A Short Introduction to the Foundations of Human Rights

Heiner Bielefeldt

FAU University Press, 2022

More information at the website of the publisher

Politik Kesetaraan, Dimensi-Dimensi Kebebasan Beragama Atau Berkeyakinan

Heiner Bielefeldt

Bentang Pustaka: Mizan, 2020

More information at the website of the publisher

Religionsfreiheit auf dem Prüfstand. Konturen eines umkämpften Menschenrechts

Heiner Bielefeldt, Michael Wiener

Bielefeld: Transcript, 2020

More information at the website of the publisher

Religious Freedom Under Scrutiny

Heiner Bielefeldt, Michael Wiener

Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019

More information at the website of the publisher

Menschenrechte für Personen mit Demenz. Soziale und ethische Perspektiven
Martina Schmidhuber / Andreas Frewer / Sabine Klotz / Heiner Bielefeldt

Bielefeld: Transcript, 2019

Volume 7 of the book series Menschenrechte in der Medizin / Human Rights in Healthcare, by Heiner Bielefeldt and Andreas Frewer

More information at the website of the publisher

Freedom of Religion or Belief. An International Law Commentary

Heiner Bielefeldt, Nazila Ghanea, Michael Wiener

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016

More information at the website of the publisher




List of publications

Publikationsliste von Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Heiner Bielefeldt (PDF)

Inhaltsverzeichnis der Publikationsliste:

I. Selbständige Buchpublikationen (Monographien)

II. Mitherausgabe bzw. konzeptionelle und redaktionelle Erarbeitung von Sammelbänden

III. Kleinere selbständige Publikationen (“Broschüren”)

IV. Aufsätze in wissenschaftlichen Büchern und Zeitschriften (Auswahl)

V. Lexikon- und Handbuchartikel

VI. Rezensionen