Richard Falk is an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He is an associate at the Transnational Foundation for Future Research
In 2001 Falk served on a United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Inquiry Commission for the Palestinian territories with John Dugard, a South African based in Leiden University in the Netherlands, and Kamal Hussein, former foreign minister of Bangladesh. Falk stated the two main issues were: "One is evaluating whether the conditions of occupation are such as to give the Palestinians some kind of right of resistance. And if they have that right, then what are the limits to that right?" and "The other issue at stake in this current inquiry is to evaluate how Israel as the occupying power is carrying out its responsibility to protect the society that is subject to its control." After its investigation the commission issued a report entitled "Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine".
On March 26, 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on "the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967." Falk replaced South African professor John Dugard who left his post in June 2008 after seven years.