Ian Martin is an Englishhuman rightsactivist/advisor and sometime United Nations official. His most recent UN assignment was as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. From 2015 to 2018 he was Executive Director of Security Council Report.
Martin was educated at Brentwood School in Brentwood, Essex and graduated from Emmanuel College, Cambridge with first class honours in history and economics. Afterwards, he was a graduate student in development economics at Harvard University for a year.
From 1969 to 1972, Martin worked for the Ford Foundation in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In 1971 while in Dhaka, East Pakistan, he witnessed the beginning of Bangladesh’s War of Independence.
After returning to the United Kingdom, Martin worked with the Redbridge Community Relations Council in London then served five years as the General Secretary of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants followed by three years as the General Secretary of the Fabian Society. He was a Labour Party Councillor in the London Borough of Redbridge 1978 to 1982.
Martin’s earlier work on the Indian subcontinent led to him become Head of the Asia Region in the Research Department of Amnesty International in 1985. On 1 October 1986, he became Secretary-General of Amnesty International, a post he held until October 1992. The number of members, supporters, and subscribers to the organization nearly doubled in size during Martin’s tenure as Secretary-General. Martin headed Amnesty International missions to Israel and the Occupied Territories, Uganda, Bahrain, Kuwait, Republic of Korea, Argentina, Austria, Egypt, Bangladesh, Cuba, Philippines, Hungary, Mozambique, USSR, Syria, Pakistan, Sudan, Jordan, Yemen, Colombia, Peru, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tunisia and India. The Human Rights Now! and A Conspiracy of Hopeconcert tours took place during Martin’s leadership.
Martin’s resignation as Secretary-General of Amnesty International was discussed in Stephen Hopgood‘s 2006 book Keepers of the Flame: Understanding Amnesty International. According to Hopgood, Martin’s decision was partially due to conflict with the chairman of Amnesty’s International Executive Committee, Peter Duffy. After leaving AI, he became a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.