Amir Attaran

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Amir Attaran
Amir Attaran H1N1 conference.png
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Professor, University of Ottawa
Known for Canadian Afghan detainee issue

Amir Attaran (Persian: امیر عطاران‎‎) is a Canadian lawyer and law professor. Currently, Attaran is Associate Professor of Law and Population Health and the holder of the Canada Research Chair in Law, Population Health and Global Development Policy at the University of Ottawa.

Early life and education[edit]

Attaran was born in California[1] to immigrants from Iran and has earned a B.A. (UC Berkeley), M.S. (Caltech), LL.B. (UBC) and a D.Phil in immunology from the University of Oxford.[2]

Attaran is a naturalized Canadian.


Attaran is an Associate Professor of Law.[2]

Attaran is by training both a lawyer (LL.B., Vancouver) and a biologist (D. Phil, Oxford; M.S., Caltech), whose research explores different drivers of human well-being, particularly in the fields of human rights, health, and/or international development. Attaran's current primary research interests include studies on the social and policy determinants of health in areas policy ranging from malaria to AIDS to hypertension; the fight against criminally counterfeit, falsified and substandard medicines; the role of intellectual property and trade law on access to medicines in less developed countries; and the application of human rights law in armed conflict and anti-terrorism.[3]

Attaran is an editorial consultant to The Lancet[4] and chairs the international advisory board of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health[5] as well as the board of directors at CASRAI.[6] Attaran has published in the Globe and Mail, New York Times, The Guardian, and the Literary Review of Canada.[7]


Attaran is extensively involved with malaria advocacy. Cooperating with the organization Africa Fighting Malaria, he has argued publicly for the renewed use of DDT in sub-Saharan Africa to combat malaria. A famous 2004 article authored by Attaran in The Lancet was sharply critical of the WHO for approving ineffective malaria medicines such as chloroquine in a manner tantamount to "medical malpractice".[8] Shortly after that article and a pressure campaign led by Attaran, global policy changed very quickly to make use of artemisinin class medicines.

In 2004, Attaran wrote an opinion piece with Shirin Ebadi, published in the New York Times, arguing that the World Bank should incorporate democratic principles in its funding criteria, and avoid funding dictatorships.

On September 9, 2005, he wrote another opinion piece in the Times criticizing the United Nations for not adopting quantifiable metrics for its Millennium Development Goals.

In February 2007, he received significant media coverage in Canada when he brought forward testimony by Afghan prisoners captured by Canadians and handed to the custody of the Afghan National Army, who said they had later been abused by the ANA.[1][9][10]


In 2009, Attaran stated that Canada was becoming "one of the bad kids on the block."[11]

In 2013, Attaran defended Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's admitted marijuana use. When Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Justice Peter MacKay criticized Trudeau, Attaran filed a complaint with the Nova Scotia Bar Association, alleging MacKay committed professional misconduct. Attaran's complaint was dismissed.[12]

On November 27, 2013, Attaran filed a complaint alleging professional misconduct against lawyers who worked in the Prime Minister's Office. Attaran alleged the two lawyer's actions as members of the office "violated legal ethics."[13] On October 29, 2014, the Toronto Star reported that Attaran's allegations against the lawyers “were fully investigated and closed.”[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Amir Attaran on the treatment of Afghan detainees". Globe and Mail. 2007-03-09. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  2. ^ a b "Common Law Section: Contact: Amir Attaran". 
  3. ^ "Attaran, Amir | Faculty of Law - Common Law Section | University of Ottawa". University of Ottawa. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "". The Lancet. Retrieved 29 August 2016.  External link in |title= (help)
  5. ^ "". jech. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Retrieved 29 August 2016.  External link in |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Board of Directors - CASRAI". Casrai. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  7. ^ "Torture and National Security: The Making of a Social Institution". University of Windsor. University of Windsor. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  8. ^,%20the%20Global%20Fund,%20and%20medical%20malpractice%20in%20malaria%20treatment.pdf
  9. ^ Oziewicz, Estanislao (2007-02-09). "Activist swamped by abusive messages". Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2007-03-19. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  10. ^ "Latest Afghan abuse claims spark cries for O'Connor to resign". CBC News. 2007-04-23. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  11. ^ "The Ugly Canadian | Literary Review of Canada". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  12. ^ "MacKay's pot comment OK, regulator says". 2013-10-08. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  13. ^ "Mike Duffy-Nigel Wright payment lawyers have professional misconduct complaints launched against them | National Post". 2013-11-27. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  14. ^ "Case closed on lawyers in Mike Duffy-Nigel Wright affair | Toronto Star". 2014-10-29. Retrieved 2014-10-29. 

External links[edit]