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Aaron Rhodes
Aaron Rhodes is a co-founder and principal investigator of the Freedom Rights Project ( He was Executive Director of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights between 1993-2007, and helped found the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in 2008. He holds degrees from Reed College and the University of Chicago (PhD). He lives with his family in Hamburg, Germany.

Entries by Aaron Rhodes

Obama's Human Rights Betrayal

(1) Comments | Posted March 22, 2016 | 4:07 PM

As a human rights activist, I cringed at President Obama's response when Raul Castro attacked America's human rights record. It is not that the United States is free from human rights violations. In fact, under the current administration, the government has infringed on press freedoms, and has used the federal...

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Jan Hus and Human Rights

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2015 | 11:53 AM

The following remarks were given at a conference in Prague commemorating the 600th anniversary of the burning of Jan Hus. The conference was sponsored by the Law Faculty at Charles University and the Universal Peace Federation.

In a technical sense, Jan Hus had nothing to do with...

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The Fruits of Human Rights Hubris

(0) Comments | Posted May 15, 2015 | 8:13 AM

Reactions to Prime Minister Cameron's plan to loosen the United Kingdom's relationship to the European Court of Human Rights have been predictably hysterical and infused with partisanship.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called the plan "appalling," adding that "the idea that we take away human rights,...

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Compromising Freedoms Clouds Fight Against Terrorism

(0) Comments | Posted January 14, 2015 | 5:09 PM

A day after at least 1.5 million came out to protest the murder of Charlie Hebdo journalists and support freedom of speech, the French Minister of the Interior announced criminal proceedings against Dieudonné, a comedian, for his "apology for terrorism." After participating in the demonstration in Paris, Dieudonné posted that...

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Japan's Policy of Denial on Religious Freedom

(0) Comments | Posted July 29, 2014 | 3:23 PM

Co-authored by Patricia Duval and Willy Fautré

For decades, Japanese authorities have looked the other way when families have attempted to force adult children to recant their religious faith by abducting them and subjecting them to physical and psychological coercion. Japanese police have protected the perpetrators from prosecution, in effect...

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The False Promise of an International Business and Human Rights Treaty

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2014 | 6:27 PM

Child labor is a scourge that tragically robs children of their childhood, their health, and their future. It is a global problem, and one that requires international cooperation to pressure governments to institute economic reforms and impose and enforce sound labor standards. In many cases, national laws protecting children need...

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How Europe Sacrificed the Right to Peaceful Protest for Good Relations With China

(1) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 9:41 PM

By Jacob Mchangama and Aaron Rhodes

Is the right to peaceful protest a fundamental human right? In Europe the answer seems to depend on whom you protest against. Several European democracies have accepted the idea that the price for doing business with China is censoring peaceful protest, when they should...

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Khodorkovski's Politics and the Challenge of Terrorism in Russia

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 6:08 PM

Mikhail Khodorkovski has provided the most potent alternative to Russian President Vladimir Putin's "vertical" politics. With his brainy liberalism and humanism, he is, in the eyes of Russians and people around the world, the "un-Putin." Yet in some respects, he seems to share the approach of Putin and an apparent...

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Wide Acclaim for China's State-Centered, Collective Human Rights

(1) Comments | Posted October 24, 2013 | 1:08 PM

When China's human rights performance was reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Council on October 22, a record of abject denial of the most fundamental civil and political rights was largely obscured -- by China's own National Report; by a swarm of pandering authoritarian states; and by the UN...

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Human Rights 20 Years After Vienna

(3) Comments | Posted August 8, 2013 | 7:04 PM

By Aaron Rhodes and Jacob Mchangama

Hamburg and Copenhagen - The World Conference on Human Rights took place just over 20 years ago, on 14-23 June 1993. The resulting "Vienna Declaration and Program of Action" has given form and content to the subsequent development of international...

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Left Wing Governments Also Violate Human Rights

(0) Comments | Posted May 29, 2013 | 2:25 PM

Hamburg, Germany -- The United States government has seriously violated the internationally guaranteed human rights of American citizens by using the bureaucratic machinery of the state to harass and discourage the work of citizens' groups holding critical views about the current administration. The government has also snooped on the correspondence...

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UN Reviews Show Dysfunction of Human Rights Discourse and Practice

(8) Comments | Posted May 13, 2013 | 2:23 PM

By Jacob Mchangama and Aaron Rhodes

The United Nations Human Rights Council's Universal Period Review (UPR) process provides for the systematic review of human rights in each UN member state every four years. Every country has human rights problems and ensuring that all are subject to a transparent examination was...

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Change China's Brutal Repatriation Policy

(2) Comments | Posted March 15, 2013 | 2:38 PM

Hamburg, Germany -- China's policy of forcibly repatriating North Korean defectors has resulted in brutal punishments including summary execution on a mass scale. As the National Peoples Congress shows small signs of responding to human rights concerns, and as the government works together with the United States to impose sanctions...

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Human Rights Council Elections: Pander Time

(3) Comments | Posted November 15, 2012 | 10:31 AM

By Jacob Mchangama and Aaron Rhodes

(Copenhagen and Hamburg) -- On Monday, 12 November 2012, 18 new members were elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council, which the UN says is the forum "all victims of human rights abuses should be able to look to... as a...

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Morsi's Relativization of Human Rights Would End Arab Spring

(2) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 5:09 PM

Co-authored by Jacob Mchangama and Aaron Rhodes.

In his maiden speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 26, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi struck out against the freedom of expression as a universal principle. Freedom of expression cannot include the criticism or ridicule of Islam; it must be "responsible."...

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Silent Human Rights Diplomacy Fails

(2) Comments | Posted August 29, 2012 | 3:48 PM

Hamburg -- United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has decided to join representatives of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) at their meeting in Tehran on Aug. 29-31. He did so over strong objections that his presence would legitimate Iran's threats against Israel and its worrisome nuclear program, and boost the country's...

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