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Brian Dooley

Director, Human Rights Defenders

As director of the Human Rights Defenders program, Brian leads Human Rights First’s efforts to ensure that human rights defenders can work free from harm and interference, engaging with the U.S. government and with other partners to end threats and obstacles to human rights work.

For the 20 years prior to joining Human Rights First, Brian worked for U.S., Irish and international NGOs. Most recently, Brian led Amnesty International's work on partnering with national NGOs in the global South. Brian has also worked as Head of Media for Amnesty International in London and in Dublin, and as Director of Communications for Public Citizen in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books about civil rights and U.S. politics, and had early experience on the Hill, interning for Senator Edward Kennedy in the mid-80s as a legislative researcher, contributing to what ultimately became the 1986 Anti-Apartheid Act. Before that, he lived and worked as an English teacher and community organizer in a black township in South Africa in 1981-82, which was prohibited under apartheid’s racial segregation laws.

Brian has an MPhil in Government and Politics from The Open University in London, and a B.A. with honors in Political Science from the University of East Anglia.

Featured Work

April 13, 2015
Bahrain human rights defender Nabeel Rajab’s detention was extended another 15 days on Saturday April 11. He was arrested on April 2 after tweeting information about reports of torture in...
April 10, 2015
Since the beginning of the 2011 democratic uprising in Bahrain, the kingdom has faced ongoing instability and unrest fueled by protests for reform. As you travel to Bahrain for the Formula 1, here...
April 02, 2015
Washington, DC – Human Rights First said that the reported arrest of prominent Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab today is another alarming setback to hopes for progress towards an...