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Human Rights First

Americans Jailed in UAE for a Year Without Charge

Brian Dooley | Posted 08.19.2015 | World
Brian Dooley

It's time the US government spoke out about the US citizens in prison in the UAE, and for the many others wrongly detained there. It's been a long year for the al Darats, a horrifying ordeal. It's time it ended.

A Generation of Fighting for Human Rights

Brian Dooley | Posted 08.11.2015 | World
Brian Dooley

McGovern has put in a generation of work on human rights in Congress since then as an intern, staffer and representative. Pity there aren't many more like him.

Kerry Ducks the Issue of Human Rights in Egypt Strategic Dialogue

Neil Hicks | Posted 08.06.2015 | World
Neil Hicks

By failing to push back against implacable refusal from the Egyptian side to engage in honest discussion about countering terrorism while protecting human rights, John Kerry handed the Sisi regime the seal of approval from the United States that it was seeking.

2022 Becomes a Crucial Test of Human Rights and Sport

Brian Dooley | Posted 07.31.2015 | World
Brian Dooley

With Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup, and now Beijing the Winter Olympics, 2022 is shaping up to be a defining test of international sport's commitment to human rights.

Ahead of Strategic Dialogue, Egyptian Authorities Take Further Steps to Restrict Independent Human Rights Organizations

Neil Hicks | Posted 07.31.2015 | World
Neil Hicks

Instead of protecting space for independent civil society organizations to operate freely, the Egyptian government has stepped up its harassment and disruption of the legitimate activities of human rights organizations.

In Cairo, Kerry Should Reinforce Obama's Remarks in Kenya

Brian Dooley | Posted 07.30.2015 | World
Brian Dooley

President Obama's strong words in Nairobi about civil society haven't been matched during similar trips to Riyadh, despite the Saudi Arabian government's violent repression of human rights. This double standard does immense damage to the U.S. government's credibility in the world, stifling its international capacity to lead on human rights.

Violence Escalates in Unstable Bahrain

Brian Dooley | Posted 07.28.2015 | World
Brian Dooley

Today's news that two more policemen have been killed in Bahrain, and others injured, is awful and alarming, but ultimately unsurprising. These attacks on the police are wrong and should stop. Protestors won't be able to bomb their way to democracy.

Why Obama Shouldn't Take Kenyan Welcome For Granted

Brian Dooley | Posted 07.24.2015 | World
Brian Dooley

Kenya's troubles shouldn't be minimized. Its civil society is under fierce attack from its government. Its refugee and Muslim communities are scapegoated for terrorist attacks. Its LGBT people are at serious risk. And its security forces are chronically undermined by corruption.

Why Obama Should Raise Case Of Kenyan Detained At Guantanamo

Brian Dooley | Posted 07.23.2015 | World
Brian Dooley

Obama should agree to a plan for returning Malik to his homeland rather detaining him indefinitely in the Guantanamo Bay prison without charge or trial.

Bahrain's In Out In Out Hokey Pokey Dance

Brian Dooley | Posted 07.14.2015 | World
Brian Dooley

Bahrain still needs a radical, inclusive settlement to its political crisis to get itself off the path of repression and polarization. Shuffling political dissidents in and out of jail isn't real reform. By freeing all its political dissidents, it can begin to open a real dialogue about the country's future.

Politicians Ignore Disability, And It's A Big Problem

Sarah Blahovec | Posted 07.13.2015 | Politics
Sarah Blahovec

The political sphere ignores people with disabilities, and it's getting really old. It's time for a change, and for that change to happen, we need people with disabilities to speak up and show the world that we listen, we take action, and most importantly, we vote.

Kenyan Corruption Undermines Fight Against Extremism

Brian Dooley | Posted 07.06.2015 | World
Brian Dooley

Since 2012, at least 600 people have been killed in Kenya by terrorist group al Shabab, including at least 67 at Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall in 2013 and 148 at Garissa University College in April 2015. There have been attacks in the coastal area and in other parts of the country. However, police corruption destroys trust in the government's ability to fight terrorism properly.

No Hollywood Ending for Bahraini Opposition Leaders

Brian Dooley | Posted 06.22.2015 | World
Brian Dooley

For too many opposition figures in the kingdom there's no Hollywood ending, no escape from Bahrain's miserable system of injustice, fake charges, and show trials. The country's judges show few signs of independence from the ruling family, and too often follow a dangerous political script that Washington should be trying to do everything it can to stop.

Saudi Leadership Changes Highlight Contradictions in U.S. Middle East Policy

Neil Hicks | Posted 06.29.2015 | World
Neil Hicks

King Salman of Saudi Arabia has issued decrees removing his half-brother, Prince Muqrin, as Crown Prince and replacing him with Mohammed bin Nayef. Bin Nayef has been described as "America's favorite Saudi official." It is a description that points to a contradiction at the heart of U.S. policy in the region.

Seven Things to Watch For in Bahrain's Upcoming Elections

Brian Dooley | Posted 01.18.2015 | World
Brian Dooley

Up for a vote are candidates for the 40 seats in the lower house of parliament, while the 40 seats in the upper house remain appointed by the king.

Revolvers: Blurred Lines Between Human Rights Organizations and the State Department

Jack Healey | Posted 09.01.2014 | World
Jack Healey

Helping is now big business. Human rights groups have become big industries with big salaries. While I do not believe activism is better with poorly paid staff, the focus should be on helping others rather than personal gain.

Legal Showdown: 6 Experts Destroy Obama's Drone Policy

Robert Greenwald | Posted 10.26.2013 | Politics
Robert Greenwald

If the administration has nothing to hide and insists that our drone policy is entirely legal, why not create an open and transparent process for the use of drones? It would bring the legal debate out of the shadows, a move that is desperately needed.

Silent Witness -- The U.S. Government and the Trial of Bahraini Human Rights Defender Abu Deeb

Brian Dooley | Posted 06.05.2013 | World
Brian Dooley

Washington has been relatively muted about the Bahrain crackdown. While the United States sent observers to the joint trial of human rights defenders Abu Deeb and Jalila al Salman, it has not publicly stated whether it thinks their trial met international standards.

On Aid to Egypt

Neil Hicks | Posted 05.14.2013 | World
Neil Hicks

The costs to the United States of failure to promote peaceful democratic transition in Egypt should not be underestimated. The uprising in Egypt, and in other countries of the region, has presented the U.S. commitment to promoting human rights and democracy around the world with a stern test.

Morsi's Illusory Power Grab

Neil Hicks | Posted 01.30.2013 | World
Neil Hicks

Assertions that Morsi exercises unprecedented powers in his current role as nominal head of the executive should be taken with a large grain of salt.

One Year Later, Bahrain Reform Remains Shallow Promise

Brian Dooley | Posted 01.20.2013 | World
Brian Dooley

The Bahrain government has concentrated on creating bureaucratic processes for implementation instead of producing real change that can be felt by those peacefully pressing for reform.

Free Expression Not a Catch Phrase

Brian Dooley | Posted 12.31.2012 | World
Brian Dooley

By stifling the possibility of legal street protests, the Bahraini regime has made more illegal protests a certainty. There isn't much left for those pressing for democratic reform.

Human Rights Priorities for the Next U.S. President

David J. Kramer | Posted 12.02.2012 | Politics
David J. Kramer

The United States should review its relations with all authoritarian regimes to give human rights greater attention. While it may cooperate with them on counter-terrorism and other shared interests, it cannot turn a blind eye to the abuses these regimes commit.

Derision on Prison Indecision

Brian Dooley | Posted 10.14.2012 | World
Brian Dooley

While time drags on without meaningful reform, the protests across Bahrain intensify, some of which have developed a violent edge. The regime needs to find something better than its current Ostrich Strategy if it's to convince anyone that it is serious about reform.

Five Things to Look for in the Egyptian Presidential Elections

Neil Hicks | Posted 07.22.2012 | World
Neil Hicks

Egyptians will go to the polls tomorrow to vote in their first-ever competitive presidential election. Whoever wins will have legitimacy in a contest in which tens of millions of voters will choose from a broad range of candidates.