Kenneth Roth is the executive director of Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s leading international human rights organizations, which operates in more than 90 countries.
Prior to joining Human Rights Watch in 1987, Roth served as a federal prosecutor in New York and for the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington, DC.
Roth was drawn to the human rights cause in part by his father’s experience fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938. He began working on human rights after the declaration of martial law in Poland in 1981, and soon also became deeply engaged in fighting military repression in Haiti. In his 25 years as executive director of Human Rights Watch, the organization has tripled in size, while greatly expanding its geographic reach, and adding special projects devoted to refugees, children’s rights, academic freedom, international justice, AIDS, gay and lesbian rights, and the human rights responsibilities of multinational corporations.
A graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, Roth has conducted human rights investigations around the globe, devoting special attention to issues of justice and accountability for gross abuses of human rights, standards governing military conduct in time of war, the human rights policies of the United States and the United Nations, and the human rights responsibilities of multinational businesses. He has written articles and chapters on a range of human rights topics in such publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, the International Herald Tribune, and the New York Review of Books. He also regularly appears in the major media and speaks to audiences around the world.