Daniel Bekele is the Executive Director of the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, where he oversees a global staff and supervises research and advocacy. He also represents the organization before national and international organizations as well as government officials.
Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, Daniel practiced law in Ethiopia as a partner at Abebe Worke & Associates. He served as the legal department director and secretary of the board for United Insurance Co., and he managed Action Aid Ethiopia's policy research and advocacy departments.
Daniel has extensively consulted with non-governmental organizations including Oxfam, ARTICLE 19, Freedom House, and PACT, as well as with USAID and the World Bank. He has worked in varying capacities with numerous civil society organizations, and led the national-level campaign for the Global Call to Action against Poverty. Daniel's focus includes promoting African civil society organizations, human rights, and good governance.
In the 2005 parliamentary elections in Ethiopia, Daniel was actively involved in promoting human rights, and independent election monitoring, as well as peace initiatives in the aftermath of the post-election crisis. However, he was arrested by the authorities and spent more than two years in prison. He was internationally recognized as prisoner of conscience, and in 2009 received the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism and in 2010 was nominated for the Martin Ennals Human Rights Defenders Award and the Index Freedom of Expression Award. Daniel received a bachelor's in law and a master's in regional development studies from Addis Ababa University and a master's in legal studies from Oxford University, where he is completing a PhD in international law.