Louis Charbonneau is the United Nations director at Human Rights Watch. Prior to joining HRW, he was a journalist for more than two decades, most recently U.N. bureau chief for Reuters. In addition to his work from the United Nations in New York, he has reported from dozens of countries in Europe, Asia and Africa and spent years doing investigative work on issues related to the Middle East and Africa. Louis was previously posted in Prague, Hong Kong, Vienna and Berlin. His first posting with Reuters was in Vienna, where he focused on the IAEA and other U.N. agencies from 2001 to 2005.
He was Reuters’ deputy bureau chief in Berlin from 2005 to 2008. Starting in early 2008 he was based at Reuters bureau inside United Nations headquarters in New York, where he followed the Security Council, General Assembly and other U.N. bodies. He was a two-time winner of the Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial award for his U.N. reporting (2009 and 2011), as well as the United Nations Foundation Prize for his coverage of negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty (2013).
During his time in Vienna, Louis became an expert on nonproliferation and nuclear issues. He covered the U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq in 2002-03 and the IAEA’s attempts to resolve the nuclear crises in North Korea and Iran. In New York, he expanded his U.N. coverage to include human rights and other topics.
He began his journalism career in 1991 with an editorial internship on the theater desk at the Village Voice. After relocating to Prague in 1992, he began covering culture and politics in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe until he moved to Hong Kong in 2000, where he was the bureau chief for Bridge News.
He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and masters degrees from Columbia University and City University of New York – City College.