Executive Director, Middle East and North Africa Division
Sarah Leah Whitson, director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, is a general expert on Middle East and North Africa issues. She has led landmark investigations of human rights conditions in Libya and Saudi Arabia and numerous advocacy missions in the region, and overseen over 20 research missions and edited the resulting reports. She has published articles on the Middle East in international and regional publications. Prior to her work at Human Rights Watch, she conducted several human rights missions in region, including missions examining the impact of war and sanctions on the Iraqi civilian population, elections in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, and human rights issues in southern Lebanon. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Whitson worked as an attorney in New York for Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School. Whitson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.