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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

March 10, 2015
“Too often, we have failed to enforce international norms when it’s inconvenient to do so. And we have not confronted forcefully enough the intolerance, sectarianism, and hopelessness that feeds...
March 10, 2015
Washington, D.C. -  Human Rights First today urged the Obama Administration to press the Saudi government to ease its crackdown on civil society, speak out against sectarian incitement, and...
February 27, 2015
This blog is cross posted from The Hufffington Post: American singer/songwriter John Legend is set to play a gig in Bahrain on Monday, March 2. Bahrain is a country that has faced ongoing...