Noted civil and human rights activist and lawyer, Nicole Austin-Hillery, will join Human Rights Watch as executive director of its US Program, Human Rights Watch said today. In this newly created role, Austin-Hillery will lead Human Rights Watch’s efforts to end violations in the abusive US immigration system, tackle race discrimination, and other rights problems within the domestic criminal justice system, and advocate for national security policies informed by international human rights standards.
“At such a critical time for human rights in the United States, we’re thrilled to have an activist with Nicole’s stature and experience to lead our US domestic team,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “We look forward to intensifying our efforts to advance the rights of all in the United States, especially racial and religious groups, immigrants, and others scapegoated by those in power.”
Austin-Hillery has years of experience advocating for civil rights and social justice, most recently as Washington director at the Brennan Center for Justice. She will lead an accomplished research and advocacy team at Human Rights Watch, including Managing Director Alison Parker, with a focus on immigration, criminal and racial justice and national security.
“In this political climate, it is vitally important that the international human rights and domestic civil rights movements work hand-in-hand to help strengthen systems of democracy and justice in the US,” Austin-Hillery said. “I am thrilled that Human Rights Watch stands at the forefront of this effort, and that I will have the opportunity to help lead this work in the US.”
Human Rights Watch also works within the United States on the rights of women, children, LGBT people, people with disabilities, older people and others at risk of human rights abuses.
Austin-Hillery will take up her new position in March.