Committee for Human Rights

Committee for Human Rights

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:
Permanent; The AAA Association Operations Committee will review each committee advisory to the Board at least once in five years. The next CfHR five-year report is due in 2013.

Committee Reports to
The Executive Board


  • To assist in organizing human rights forum, sessions, workshops or other events at AAA Annual Meeting;
  • To consider and respond to cases of alleged human rights abuse;
  • To educate anthropologists on human rights;
  • To educate policy makers and others outside of anthropology on anthropology's perspective and contributions to human rights;
  • To work in coalition with other professional and human rights organizations to promote human rights.

Membership and Appointment:

  • 10 member committee including the Chair
  • 8 members elected by membership at-large
  • 3 year terms
  • President and President-elect serve as ex-officio
  • Chair is elected by committee members

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

Meetings and Schedule:
One formal meeting at AAA Annual Meeting; also meets via teleconference throughout the year.

Staff Liaison and contact information:
Joslyn Osten, Marketing & Communications Manager, American Anthropological Association, 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 1301, Arlington, VA 22201, (o) 703/528-1902, (f) 703/528-3546,

Review Body: AOC

Review Date: May 19, 2013

Last Reviewed by AAA Executive Board: December 2008

Adopted by AAA Executive Board: May 20, 2006

Recent & Past CfHR Reports, Updates and Correspondence


  • 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).





Committee Links
Anthropological Resources