In 2019, Samer returned to Human Rights Watch as Associate Director in the Disability Rights Division after working at the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto’s faculty of law, where he was director and clinical lecturer for four years. Under Samer’s leadership, the clinic produced a series of reports on Canada’s immigration detention of children and persons with mental health conditions; a landmark report on Canada’s use of predictive analytics in its immigration system; and a book featuring the resilience of Rwanda’s survivors of sexual violence.
A lawyer, documentary photographer, and former journalist, Samer has extensive experience monitoring and documenting rights abuses particularly during human rights crises including situations of armed conflict, massive civilian displacement, and large-scale killings.
As a senior researcher in the women's rights division, Samer conducted numerous fact-finding missions on issues such as sexual violence and exploitation of Somali women and girls by African Union peacekeepers and other men in uniform; mass abductions of women and girls by the Islamic State in northwest Iraq and Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria; Sexual and gender based violence by South Sudan’s government forces in Unity State; abuses by Syrian government and armed opposition forces against female activists and humanitarian aid providers; the Sudanese government’s indiscriminate aerial bombardment and shelling in Blue Nile; female political participation during Libya’s first national election in 40 years; and Canadian police violence against Indigenous women and girls in northern British Columbia.
Previously, as a researcher for the Middle East and North Africa division, Samer monitored, investigated, and documented human rights developments in the region with a specific focus on Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. Before joining Human Rights Watch in 2009, he worked in Baghdad as an adviser supporting the Iraqi government.
Samer received a bachelor's degree in environmental studies from Carleton University, a law degree from the University of Toronto, and a graduate degree in international human rights law from the London School of Economics and Political Science.