Headshot of Kenneth Roth, seen wearing a jacket and facing the camera

Kenneth Roth

Former Executive Director
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Kenneth Roth is the Charles and Marie Robertson Visiting Professor at the Princeton School for Public and International Affairs. Until August 2022, he served for nearly three decades as the executive director of Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s leading international human rights organizations, which operates in some 100 countries. Before that, Roth was a federal prosecutor in New York and for the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington. 

A graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, Roth has conducted numerous human rights investigative and advocacy missions around the world, meeting with dozens of heads of state and countless ministers. He is quoted widely in the media and has written hundreds of articles on a wide range of human rights issues, devoting special attention to the world’s most dire situations, the conduct of war, the foreign policies of the major powers, the work of the United Nations, and the global contest between autocracy and democracy. 

Roth is currently writing a book, Righting Wrongs, to be published by Knopf, about the strategies used by Human Rights Watch to defend human rights, drawing on his years of experience.


Articles Authored:

Defending Human Rights Values Under Attack, 11 Newspapers in Europe, June 22, 2016


Lateline Interview on Manus Island detention Center Closing, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, April 27, 2016

Media Profiles:

"Thunder on the Rights," Vanity Fair, September 19, 2008

Human Rights Watch Reports:

Twin Threats: How the Politics of Fear and the Crushing of Civil Society Imperil Global Rights (January 27, 2016)

Other Writing

Why I joined Human Rights Watch