September 4, 2003 by

Arthur Helton

1 comment

Categories: Extraordinary People, Law, Politicians

ahelton.jpgArthur C. Helton, an author and activist who defended the rights of refugees, died on Aug. 19 in the car bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. He was 54.
Helton was meeting with U.N. envoy Sérgio Vieira de Mello when the bomb exploded. Vieira de Mello and 18 others were also killed.
Helton was a law professor at Columbia University who devoted 12 years to working with the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. He defended Haitians seeking asylum in the U.S., and often testified as an expert in court and in Congress on migrants’ rights.
“People now talk about how refugee rights are human rights. Arthur was in the forefront of promoting that idea. He was one of the first people, if not the first, working at a human rights organization with an exclusive focus on refugee protection and the protection of displaced people. He was a major force in building concern for refugees first in the U.S. and then he took that concern international,” said Michael Posner, executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.
Since 1999, Helton has served as the program director of peace and conflict studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was in Baghdad to assess humanitarian conditions in Iraq for a series of articles he was planning to write for openDemocracy, an online news agency.

One Response to Arthur Helton

  1. margaret helton hatcher

    arther and i both had differnt mothers and same fathers and we contacted each other 2 wk before his death we planed to meet in person i have read all his books and have a high regard for arthur and miss the brother i found to late my lost bro margaret helton married name is mrs hatcher i live in st.louis near ballwin mo

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