Associate Director, Women’s Rights Division

Nisha Varia joined Human Rights Watch's women's rights division in 2003 and focuses on migration, labor rights, forced labor, and trafficking. Varia has conducted extensive research, published several reports, and carried out advocacy campaigns on migrant domestic workers’ rights across Asia and the Middle East, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. She co-led Human Rights Watch’s involvement in the development of the International Labour Organization's Domestic Workers Convention adopted in 2011. Varia's other work has included investigations on human rights impacts of coal mining in Mozambique, women’s political participation in Afghanistan, and abuses against refugee women in Nepal.
Varia is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a lecturer on human rights research methods at The New School in New York City. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Varia worked at the International Center for Research on Women and was a Fulbright scholar to India. Varia received a master's degree in economic and political development from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor's degree in economics and anthropology from Stanford University.