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Neil Hicks advises Human Rights First programs on a wide variety of international human rights issues, and serves as a resource to the organization in identifying opportunities to advance human rights around the world. Neil also writes and conducts advocacy on issues relating to human rights promotion in the Muslim world, and on the impact of counterterrorism measures on human rights. Between 2002 – 2007, Neil was the director of the Human Rights Defenders Program.

Neil is a member of the Egypt Working Group, a bi-partisan group of policy experts that has been advocating for democratic change in Egypt since prior to the popular uprising that overthrew President Mubarak in February 2011.

Before joining Human Rights First, Neil worked as a researcher for the Middle East Department of Amnesty International in London, where he worked between 1985 and 1991. He has also served as human rights project officer of Birzeit University in the West Bank.

In 2000-2001, Neil took a year-long sabbatical from Human Rights First; he spent his leave as a Senior Fellow in the Jennings Randolph Fellowship Program of the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. Neil is the author of many reports and scholarly articles, including, “Transnational Human Rights Networks and Human Rights in Egypt,” in Anthony Chase and Amr Hamzawy (ed.) Human Rights in the Arab World, Independent Voices, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006, and The Impact of Counter Terror on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: A Global Perspective, in Richard Wilson (ed.) Human Rights in an Age of Terrorism; Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Neil holds a B.A. (Hons.) in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from St. Cuthbert’s Society, University of Durham (1983) and studied at the Arabic Language Unit of the American University in Cairo (1981/82). He studied international refugee law at the Refugee Studies Program, Oxford University (1991). Neil has taught Human Rights in the Middle East at Fordham Law School. Neil has published articles on human rights in such publications as The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and Al-Ahram Weekly.

Featured Work

February 17, 2017
In these first few weeks of the Trump Administration, the president’s often-harmful words have rightfully gotten a lot of attention. But his silences are no less telling. President Trump uses his...
February 09, 2017
This is crossposted from The Huffington Post. The Trump White House is reportedly considering designating the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, or "FTO."  The factual...
February 03, 2017
This is crossposted from The Huffington Post. Proposals from the Trump administration to change the countering violent extremism (CVE) program started under President Obama to a one focused solely...
February 02, 2017
This article is a cross-post from The Huffington Post. In his telephone discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabian King Salman last weekend, President Trump reportedly...