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Kenneth Roth

Lawyer, historian, and former director of Human Rights Watch.

For almost three decades Kenneth Roth, a lawyer and historian, has been investigating human rights violations in different countries. With a degree in History from Brown University and in Law from Yale University, he served as a federal prosecutor of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. In 1987 he joined Human Rights Watch (HRW) and became its executive director in 1993. For almost three decades, he has led a process of expansion and transformation of HRW which, now present in more than ninety countries, has become an internationally renowned organisation, especially after it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. Under his leadership, HRW has scrupulously documented a vast number of human rights violations in places where wars are being waged, for example Rwanda, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, and Afghanistan and also in situations of peace and democracy such as in the United States where it has investigated the torture of terrorism suspects. With his work at HRW he has contributed to the transformation of the international peace scene by professionalising and making visible the task of documenting human rights abuse. Throughout his long career he has published more than a hundred articles in specialist reviews as well as writing on an occasional basis for publications like The Guardian, The New York Review of Books, and The Washington Post.

Update: 1 September 2022


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Kenneth Roth

The Battle for Human Rights