2019 Elaine Pearson Headshot

Elaine Pearson

Elaine Pearson is director of Human Rights Watch's Asia Division, overseeing the work of the division in more than 20 countries, based from Sydney. She joined Human Rights Watch in 2007 and was formerly the Deputy Director of the Asia Division and then established Human Rights Watch’s Australia office, working as the organization’s inaugural Australia Director from 2013 - 2022. Pearson has conducted numerous human rights investigations in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world. Pearson writes frequently for a range of publications and her articles have appeared in the Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald, the AustralianForeign Policy and the Washington Post

Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, Pearson worked for the United Nations and various non-governmental organizations in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kathmandu and London. She is an adjunct lecturer in law at the University of New South Wales, on the advisory committee of UNSW’s Australian Human Rights Institute and on the board of the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women. Pearson holds degrees in law and arts from Murdoch University and obtained her Master's degree in public policy at Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs.

She is the author of Chasing Wrongs and Rights, a human rights travelogue, influenced in part by how her Chinese maternal grandmother had been sold to an opera troupe to save the family from starvation, published by Simon and Schuster in September 2022.