San Francisco

Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. The San Francisco Committee is part of the Human Rights Watch Council, a global network of individuals and committees in 33 cities around the world. Council members are active ambassadors for Human Rights Watch in their communities and support the work through fundraising, outreach, and advocacy initiatives. Together, we play a key role in the defense of human rights.


  • August 8, 2023

    On April 26, 2023, we hosted our annual celebration at Fort Mason’s Gallery 308. It was our first time gathering again as a large community in three years, and it was a joy to see so many new and old faces. 

    We hosted a panel discussion with Women’s Rights Director Macarena Sáez, Americas Researcher César Muñoz, and Russia Associate Director Tanya Lokshina, moderated by our newly appointed executive director Tirana Hassan. The talented Barbara Bogatin, cellist with the San Francisco Symphony, performed a piece for our guests. We hope our program was able to educate, inspire, and revitalize all those who attended! 

    Thank you for helping us build this powerful community moving human rights forward. Your generosity enables our researchers to continue their life-saving work in the US and around the world, investigating and exposing the most entrenched human rights violations and pressing for meaningful change. 

    If you would like to get more involved, join our Committee, or learn more, please reach out to us! 

  • October 18, 2022

    Book Club event with Take My Hand author Dolen Perkins-Valdez in conversation with Human Rights Watch Women's Rights Division Researcher Annerieke Smaak Daniels

    Tuesday, October 18th, 2022 at 5pm PT
    Register here

    About the Book: Montgomery, Alabama, 1973. Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend intends to make a difference, especially in her African American community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she hopes to help women shape their destinies, to make their own choices for their lives and bodies.

    But when her first week on the job takes her along a dusty country road to a worn-down one-room cabin, Civil is shocked to learn that her new patients, Erica and India, are children—just eleven and thirteen years old. Neither of the Williams sisters has even kissed a boy, but they are poor and Black, and for those handling the family’s welfare benefits, that’s reason enough to have the girls on birth control. As Civil grapples with her role, she takes India, Erica, and their family into her heart. Until one day she arrives at their door to learn the unthinkable has happened, and nothing will ever be the same for any of them.

    Decades later, with her daughter grown and a long career in her wake, Dr. Civil Townsend is ready to retire, to find her peace, and to leave the past behind. But there are people and stories that refuse to be forgotten. That must not be forgotten.

    Because history repeats what we don’t remember.

    Inspired by true events and brimming with hope, Take My Hand is a stirring exploration of accountability and redemption. (Excerpt from Penguin Random House Website)

    Please consider purchasing this book from our partners at Green Apple Books.

  • April 9, 2021

    Looking for your next page turner? HRW San Francisco has partnered with local bookstore Green Apple Books to share a list of HRW researchers' favorite reads. You can check out the whole list here!

  • November 18, 2020

    Register and join us from 6:00 to 6:30 PM PT on December 9, the eve of Human Rights Day, as we celebrate the success of our Future We Build Together Global Challenge. This year has tested us all, but we have come together in solidarity with one another and will celebrate our collective work to advance human rights and dignity for all.

    In this global virtual event, Executive Director Kenneth Roth and Chief Programs Officer Tirana Hassan will address our community on how the world has changed, and why this moment is unlike any other for the human rights movement. The staff and supporters of Human Rights Watch will speak to our shared vision for a more just, equitable world—one we are building together. The program will also include a special surprise musical performance to celebrate our Future We Build Together Global Challenge.

  • October 22, 2020

    Please join us on Monday, November 9th for a US elections debrief to unpack what happened on election day and to discuss the future of human rights in the US. We will discuss the events and outcome of the election, the challenges we face in the months to come, and what we need to do to ensure that human rights are at the forefront of the next administration’s policies.

    We are holding this conversation twice to accommodate global interest, so please feel free to join at the time that is most convenient for you.

    First offering: 9:00am - 10:00am PST
    Second offering: 4:00pm - 5:00pm PST

    Our first offering will feature HRW Executive Director Ken Roth in conversation with US Program Executive Director Nicole Austin-Hillery at 9:00am PST.

    Our second offering will feature Nicole Austin-Hillery in conversation with HRW experts at 4:00pm PST

    Please RSVP here to join.

  • October 19, 2020

    Early voting has begun in California, and over the next month, voters will have the opportunity to protect human rights in the most populous state in the United States. Basic rights are at stake in at least four measures on this year’s ballot. Human Rights Watch has studied each of these four ballot proposals and recommends the following votes:

    Yes on Proposition 17, which would restore voting rights to people disenfranchised while serving a prison term as soon as they complete their sentence.

    No on Proposition 20, which seeks to roll back California’s recent criminal legal system reforms

    No on Proposition 22, an initiative that would create a third, substandard regulatory category for app-based workers in California, falling between employees and independent contractors.

    No on Proposition 25, which, if passed, would replace the unjust money bail system with an even more discriminatory system.

    Read more here.

  • June 15, 2018

    We invite you to join us on Thursday, June 28th at 9:15 am at our office (or by phone) for “Journey to Raqqa: Human Rights Watch Investigates Life after ISIS” -- a discussion with our Acting Director for Emergencies Priyanka Motaparthy. The discussion will focus on Priyanka's recent trip to Northern Syria, where she visited displaced persons’ camps, former ISIS detention centers, and mass graves. This research is the basis of an upcoming report documenting the stories of those detained and disappeared by ISIS, and their families’ quest to learn what happened to them after ISIS was driven from the area.

    Please RSVP to

  • May 23, 2018

    How far have we come since the groundbreaking Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?

    We hope you'll join us for a conversation with Kriti Sharma on Wednesday, June 6th, 2018 at 12 pm at the HRW SF office to learn more about the work of the Disability Rights Division and the progress of disability rights worldwide. Please RSVP to

  • March 16, 2018

    On Wednesday, April 11th at 7 pm at Dolby Cinema, Human Rights Watch, in partnership with the San Francisco International Film Festival and co-hosts Natasha and David Dolby, will host a screening of The Rescue List, a documentary charting the courageous efforts of a local safe house to rescue children enslaved to fishermen on Ghana's Lake Volta.

    Through a character-driven approach and a riveting vérité style, The Rescue List charts the unfolding drama of rescue operations alongside a moving portrait of the boys’ recoveries. By doing so, the film tells a cinematic story of friendship and courage—a story that transcends the trope of victimhood and truly illustrates what it means to love and to survive.

    This event will feature a post-film Q&A with the filmmakers, Zachary Fink and Alyssa FedeleBrad Adams, Asia Director at Human Rights Watch; and Professor Cathy Zimmerman, a behavioral and social scientist who lectures on migration and health, human trafficking, and gender-based violence.

    Tickets can be purchased and more information can be found here: 

  • March 16, 2018

    Join us at 9 am on Wednesday, March 21 for a conversation with Marcos Orellana, Director of the Environment and Human Rights Division.

    RSVP to

  • July 7, 2017

    Join us for the opening of Richard Misrach: The Writing on the Wall at the Fraenkel Gallery on July 13, 5:30-7:30PM. For four decades Richard Misrach has been one of the most significant and influential photographers of the American landscape. This collection includes recent photographs made in response to the 2016 US presidential election. We are thrilled that 50% of all proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to Human Rights Watch.

    Misrach’s recent photographs are a direct response to the highly charged political climate and accompanying rhetoric of hostility felt across America today. In his travels through desolate areas of southern California, Arizona, and Nevada, the artist found countless signs of despair, protest, and anger scrawled on derelict buildings and rocky outcrops. His images of spray-painted graffiti record messages of desperation, hatred, grief, and hopelessness for the country’s future. The new work builds on Misrach’s photographs of related inscriptions made during the Obama years, images that now can be seen as unwitting omens of the abrupt shift in public discourse that was to come.

    We are grateful to the Fraenkel Gallery and Richard Misrach for their partnership. We hope to see you there! 

  • April 26, 2017

    On April 13, the San Francisco Committee took part in a moving and thought-provoking evening centered around City of Ghosts, a documentary featuring citizen journalists in Syria who risk their lives to document human rights atrocities. Following the film screening, audience members took part in an interactive panel and Q&A. Panelists included the Executive Director of HRW's Middle East and North Africa Division Sarah Leah Whitson, acclaimed director Matthew Heineman, and the Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society, Noah Cowan. We thank all those who were involved in the planning of the event and our wonderful audience for making the film screening a success!

  • March 20, 2017

    On Thursday, April 13 at 6:00 p.m., the San Francisco Film Society, as part of the 60th SF International Film Festival, will host a screening of award-winning documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman's "City of Ghosts" at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - New Mission. Director Matthew Heineman is expected to be in attendance, as well as Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of HRW's Middle East and North Africa Division -- we highly encourage those with an interest in human rights, journalism, or the Syrian conflict to attend!

    Matthew Heineman’s powerful documentary follows the men behind Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently—a group of activists who have risked their personal freedom and safety to confront the Islamic Brotherhood by sharing information. In our current political climate, the mission of this film’s subjects becomes more urgent than ever, as these men fight to share the truth for their family, their country, and the greater good.

    Tickets can be purchased and more information can be found here:


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