Kenneth Roth leaves Human Rights Watch after 30 years, Tirana Hassan named interim executive director


After nearly 30 years, Kenneth Roth left Human Rights Watch on August 31, 2022 as Executive Director.

Roth has led HRW since 1993, growing HRW from a small group of regional “oversight committees” to a large international human rights organization with global influence.

He began his human rights career as a volunteer, working nights and weekends while serving as a lawyer and federal prosecutor. He joined Human Rights Watch in 1987 as deputy director.

Roth became executive director of HRW in 1993.

Under his leadership, Human Rights Watch grew from a staff of approximately 60 to 552, covering more than 100 countries.

In 1997, Human Rights Watch shared a Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to ban antipersonnel landmines and later played a vital role in coalitions to establish the International Criminal Court and ban the use of landmines. submunitions and child soldiers.

HRW’s reporting and advocacy has also helped bring perpetrators of human rights abuses to justice, including Charles Taylor in Liberia, Alberto Fujimori in Peru, wartime Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić.

Roth’s legacy includes special programs he created to realize the rights of everyone, including women, children, LGBT people, refugees, people with disabilities and the elderly.

It also fundamentally changed HRW’s approach to advocacy. HRW has grown from an American focus to establish advocacy offices around the world, from Brussels to Tokyo to São Paulo.

“Ken Roth has transformed Human Rights Watch into a juggernaut of justice,” said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

He’s leaving HRW, but he’s not leaving the human rights movement. He plans to work on a book based on his personal experiences on the most effective strategies for defending human rights.

Tirana Hassan is Acting General Manager

Tirana Hassan is Acting Executive Director and Director of Programs at Human Rights Watch, a leading international human rights organization, which operates in over 90 countries and has over 500 staff.

Tirana Hassan

“As we usher in a new era at HRW, we are delighted to have Tirana Hassan, Head of Programs, taking over as Acting Executive Director,” HRW announced.

Tirana is a skilled social worker and lawyer who has spent the past two decades working with individuals and communities to defend their rights and fight for justice.

She was a founding member of a refugee legal service during the refugee crisis in Australia in 2000 before working around the world in international humanitarian operations specializing in the protection of children and the protection of civilians in emergency situations. complex emergencies.

Tirana has worked for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children, among others, in East and West Africa and South and Central Asia. South East.

Tirana specializes in the protection of human rights in conflicts and crises. Between 2010 and 2015, she worked as a senior researcher in the Emergencies Division of Human Rights Watch, where she conducted dozens of investigations in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

She then served as Director of Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Programme, where she led teams of investigators and an interdisciplinary team that advanced innovative research methodologies for human rights investigations and evidence gathering. .

She was also part of the organization’s interim leadership team. She has authored reports and opinion pieces for major publications worldwide.

Tirana graduated with honors in social work and law in Australia and holds a master’s degree in international human rights law from the University of Oxford.

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