Heather Barr is associate director of the Women's Rights Division at Human Rights Watch. She has researched human rights in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, South Korea and the US on issues including child marriage, girls’ education, women's access to health care, domestic violence, online gender-based violence, so called "moral crimes", "honor violence" and "virginity exams", the rights of refugees and prisoners, torture, civilian casualties, freedom of expression and association, and human trafficking. She was the interim/acting co-director of the Women's Rights Division from 2018-2021.
She joined Human Rights Watch in 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan, as the Afghanistan researcher, after working for the United Nations on human rights and legal reform in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burundi and Jordan. After law school she litigated a class action lawsuit on behalf of imprisoned people with psychosocial disabilities in New York City and founded an alternative-to-incarceration program for people with psychosocial disabilities who had committed felonies. Before law school, she worked in a New York City shelter for homeless women. She is a graduate of London School of Economics, Columbia University School of Law, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Seattle Central Community College.