Laura Pitter, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s US Program, guides Human Rights Watch’s work on criminal justice and national security. Prior to this position she served as senior national security counsel for Human Rights Watch's US Program, monitoring US national security policy and advocating for human rights compliant practices. Pitter has conducted human rights investigations in the United States, Middle East, Asia, and Europe and extensive advocacy before the governments of the United States and Europe. She has also provided testimony to commissions, panels of experts, and to the US Congress and is a frequent voice in the media.
Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, Laura was a journalist, human rights advocate, and attorney who practiced in both the public and private sectors. She was a reporter during the war in Bosnia where she wrote for Time Magazine and Reuters News Agency among other media outlets. Following the war she worked for the United Nations in both Bosnia and post Sept. 11-Afghanistan as a protection and political affairs officer. After Afghanistan, Laura practiced law for eight years, first as a public defender and later with a product liability law firm, both in New York. Laura holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara, a master's in international affairs from Columbia University, and a law degree from the University of San Francisco.