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Paul Coleman


Paul Coleman serves as executive director of ADF International from its headquarters in Vienna, overseeing the advocacy and operations of the global, alliance-building legal organization.

Paul Coleman serves as executive director of ADF International from its headquarters in Vienna, overseeing the advocacy and operations of the global, alliance-building legal organization.

Specializing in international human rights and European law, Coleman has been involved in more than 20 cases before the European Court of Human Rights and has authored complaints and submissions to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, International Criminal Court, Court of Justice of the European Union, UN Human Rights Committee, and numerous national courts.

Coleman was part of the legal team in the historic Eweida and others v. United Kingdom case, where the court handed down a landmark ruling on religious freedom. Coleman has also authored legal submissions in numerous precedent-setting cases before the European Court, including three Grand Chamber victories. In Gross v. Switzerland, he submitted that no right to assisted suicide or euthanasia exists under the European Convention on Human Rights. In F.G. v. Sweden, Coleman argued that European countries have a duty to protect Christian converts escaping persecution in their native countries. In Nagy v. Hungary, he argued that churches must have the freedom to manage their internal affairs without interference from the government or other state bodies.

Coleman earned his LL.M. and postgraduate diploma in legal practice, with distinction, from the Northumbria Law School. He obtained a Bachelor of Laws, with first-class honours, from Newcastle University. Coleman is a solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales and is the author of two books and numerous articles.


Censored addresses the rise of so-called ‘hate speech’ laws throughout Europe and their devastating effect on freedom of speech. In Germany, for example, committing an ‘insult’ is a criminal offence and in Poland offending ‘religious feelings’ carries a two year prison sentence. In Cyprus, anyone who promotes ‘feelings of ill will’ may be committing a crime, while in Sweden anyone who expresses ‘contempt’ towards a group of people may be imprisoned.

The Global Human Rights Landscape: A Short Guide to Understanding the International Organizations and the Opportunities for Engagement

Throughout the world today, marriage is being redefined by national courts and governments, religious liberty is severely threatened, and abortion is routinely promoted as a ‘human right’. The international organizations that were established in the 20th century to protect fundamental human rights are instead in some areas being used to undermine them. This short guide seeks to answer three questions: What are the international and regional human rights institutions that exist around the world, why do they matter and how can individuals and organizations get involved?

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Censored: Why Free Speech Matters

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Paul Coleman at London Book Launch

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Should We Be Free To Hate

News & Publications

The unstoppable march of state censorship

Vaguely worded hate-speech laws can end up criminalising almost any opinion. Paul Coleman is the executive director of ADF International, a human-rights organisation defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. He is the author of Censored: How European Hate Speech Laws are Threatening Freedom of Speech.

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Forcibly-married 14-year-old Maira hopes for Easter miracle

Maira* loved to sing hymns at her church’s Easter service. This Easter, she is forced to hide rather than be able to join in celebrations. She had been abducted, forcibly married to a much older Muslim man, and must now wait in hiding after escaping. Forced “conversion” through marriage affects an estimated 1,000 girls from religious minorities in Pakistan every year.

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