FOREF President Aaron Rhodes Honored by Moscow Helsinki Group
Vienna, 8 December 2020. The Moscow Helsinki Group recognized President of the Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe (FOREF) Dr. Aaron Rhodes “For Historical Contributions to the Protection of Human Rights and the Human Rights Movement.”
The Moscow Helsinki Group, founded in 1976 by Ludmilla Alexeyeva and Yuri Orlov, inspired the formation of numerous other “Helsinki committees” in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and eventually throughout Western Europe, the United States and Canada. Forced to disband by the Soviet KGB in 1982, it resumed work after the fall of the Communist regime, becoming again a leading human rights group in Russia and the world.
The Moscow Helsinki Group’s citation reads:
“Aaron Anthony Rhodes is a renowned international human rights defender and former Executive Director of the International Helsinki Federation from 1993 to 2007. Rhodes made an invaluable contribution to the development of the Helsinki movement in Russia and other post-Soviet countries. A separate area of his work was numerous investigations on human rights in the Middle East, Cuba, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and other countries.
“In 2018, Rhodes published The Debasement of Human Rights: How Politics Sabotage the Ideal of Freedom (Encounter Books, New York). His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Die Zeit, The American Interest, National Review Online, and elsewhere.”
Others honored by the Moscow Helsinki Group included philanthropist George Soros and Russian human rights activists Konstantin Aleksandrovich Kotov, Yuli Andreyevich Rybakov, Oksimiron Miron Yanovich, Merkacheva Eva Mikhailovna, Gutnikov Arkady Borisovich, Vera Velimirovna Goncharova, Melkonyants Grigory Arkadyevich, Veronika Aleksandrovna Marchenko, Iya Georgievich Shablinsky, and Nikolai Alekseevich Shuchur, recognized for their courage and accomplishments.
Rhodes, who lives in Hamburg, Germany, was named President of FOREF Europe in 2014. FOREF monitors religious freedom and other human rights issues worldwide, working with civil society, governments, and international institutions.