Laura Pitter, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s US Program, oversees Human Rights Watch’s work on domestic human rights issues in the US, with a focus on the US criminal legal system and racial justice. Prior to this position she served as senior national security counsel for Human Rights Watch's US Program. Pitter has conducted human rights investigations in the United States, Middle East, Central 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 worked as a journalist, mostly as a foreign correspondent, for Reuters News Agency, Time Magazine, and other media outlets, then for the United Nations in both Bosnia and post-Sept. 11 Afghanistan. After law school, Laura switched career tracks. She worked for five years as a public defender in the Bronx, and then practiced civil litigation at a plaintiff’s firm in New York City. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara, a master's degree from Columbia University, and a law degree from the University of San Francisco.