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Former Committee for Human Rights

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Committee Charge


To promote and protect human rights; to expand the definition of human rights within an anthropological perspective; to work internally with the membership of the AAA, to educate anthropologists, and to mobilize their support for human rights; to work externally with foreign colleagues, the people and groups with whom anthropologists work, and other human rights organizations to develop an anthropological perspective on human rights and consult with them on human rights violations and the appropriate actions to be taken; to influence and educate the media, policy makers, non-governmental organizations, and decision makers in the private sector; to encourage research on all aspects of human rights from conceptual to applied.

Duration of Committee

Combined with other AAA programmatic committees to form the Members’ Programmatic, Advisory and Advocacy Committee (MPAAC) following the 2017 AAA Annual Meeting. 

Committee Reports to

The Executive Board


Membership and Appointment


Annual reports; letters and issue briefs in response to cases of human rights abuse.

Review date: May 19, 2013
Last reviewed by AAA Executive Board: December 1, 2008
Adopted by Executive Board: May 20, 2006
Committee Links

Call for Papers: Guerrero-Friedlander Human Rights Graduate Student Paper Prize

Stay up to date with the Committee

Committee Mission

CfHR Mission
Established in 1995, after a 3-year planning effort by its predecessor, the AAA Commission on Human Rights. The Committee's work falls broadly into internal and external categories.

Internal Mission
To stimulate informed involvement in the human rights area among professional anthropologists through publications, panels and network building. The Committee's proposed Declaration on Anthropology and Human Rights, the white papers of its task groups on ethnic cleansing and on the human rights of women are further examples, and these web pages are among the products of this effort.

External Mission
To gather information on selected, anthropologically relevant, cases of human rights abuse and to propose action in the name of the American Anthropological Association to the Association's leadership.The committee's briefing documents, prepared in order to brief the Association's leadership on particular cases of human rights abuse, are one product of the external mission.

Committee Structure

Procedures & Records

Activities & Reports

See a human rights abuse in the field? Here's what you can do...

To contact CfHR in regards to a human rights issue, Contact Us

Additional Information And Resources

Human Rights Documents




  • CfHR strongly urges the Government of Guatemala to move forward with the trial of former General Efrain Rios Montt on the charge of genocide. Read the letter (PDF).
  • AAA and CfHR urges Guatemalan President Molina to Address Attacks in Indigenous Areas. Read the letter in English or Spanish (PDF).
  • CfHR spearheads an advocacy compaign to call attention to the public health crisis amongst the indigenous peoples of Brazil. Read the letter in English or Portuguese (PDF).









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