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.
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, “The Public Disorder of Blasphemy Laws: A Comparative Perspective,” The Review of Faith & International Affairs, Volume 13, 1, Spring 2015; “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, Defense One, AlMonitor and Al-Ahram Weekly.