Hillel C. Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch, a human rights NGO in Geneva, Switzerland. Mr. Neuer appears regularly before the United Nations Human Rights Council, intervening for the victims of Darfur, the rights of women, political prisoners in China, Russia and Zimbabwe and the cause of Middle East peace.
Mr. Neuer has been quoted as an expert on U.N. and human rights issues by the New York Times, Die Welt, Le Figaro and Reuters, and has appeared on CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera. U.S. Congressman Howard Berman, speaking as Ranking Member in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, described Mr. Neuer as "one of the strongest and most informed critics of the UN Human Rights Council.”
Maariv newspaper recently named Neuer to its list of the Top 100 Most Influential Jewish People in the World.
Mr. Neuer taught international human rights at the Geneva School of Diplomacy, and in 2008 was elected Vice-President of the Conference of NGOs' Special Committee on Human Rights in Geneva, on which he served until 2011. Since 2009, Neuer has represented 25 human rights groups as chair of the annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. In a recent profile, Concordia University Magazine said Neuer is "helping to shape history." (En Francais)
Prior to joining UN Watch, Neuer practiced commercial and civil rights litigation at the international law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where he represented Oprah Winfrey and other high profile individuals and corporations. Active as a human rights defender, Neuer challenged the New York State prison system in Reynolds v. Goord, a precedent-setting First Amendment case for prisoners’ rights and freedom of religion, published in the AIDS Litigation Digest. Neuer was cited for the high quality of his pro bono advocacy by the Federal Court of New York, as reported in the New York Law Journal. In Hines v. Widnall, Neuer took on the U.S. Air Force as an advocate for African-Americans claiming a pattern and practice of racial discrimination in hiring and promotions. As an international lawyer, Neuer helped five Bulgarian nurses win a major case in their torture complaint against Libya, Nenova et al. v. Libya, before the UN Human Rights Committee.
Originally from Montreal, Neuer served as a law clerk for Justice Itzhak Zamir at the Supreme Court of Israel. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Western Society and Culture from Concordia University, a B.C.L. and LL.B. from the McGill University Faculty of Law, and a LL.M. in comparative constitutional law from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Neuer is a member of the New York Bar and the author of several legal publications.
Hillel Neuer's banned U.N. speech from 2007 became the most viewed and written-about NGO speech in the history of the United Nations. News reports described it as a "stunning rebuke of the U.N. Human Rights Council" and "a diplomatic moment to remember."