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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 01, 2017
This blog is cross posted from The Huffington Post. President Trump and his senior advisors have sought to downplay the significance of the sweeping restrictions on refugees and immigrants from...
January 13, 2017
Senate confirmation hearings are poor vehicles for finding out the actual views of nominees. Would-be cabinet secretaries know that it's wise to say as little as possible as vaguely as possible so as...
January 06, 2017
New York City—Human Rights First today urged the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to lift the closure order issued against the civil society organization Yazda, in Dohuk. On January 2 local...
December 12, 2016
Cairo - Human Rights First condemns the brutal terrorist attack on Christian worshipers in a chapel adjacent to Cairo’s main Coptic Christian cathedral. The organization expresses its sympathy...