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Katharina Obser

Senior Associate, Refugee Protection

As Senior Associate in the Refugee Protection Program, Katharina Obser leads Human Rights First’s efforts to reform U.S. policies and practices relating to immigration detention. Katharina has also worked to improve and expand access to legal representation nationally for asylum seekers and immigrants, and she previously coordinated Human Rights First’s pro bono legal representation program for indigent asylum seekers in the Washington, DC office.

Katharina has also worked at the Women’s Refugee Commission, where she conducted research and advocacy on immigration detention policies affecting immigrant women and asylum seekers, monitoring conditions in immigration detention facilities, authoring two reports, and advocating at a national level for detention reform and an increase in the use of alternatives to detention.

Katharina holds a Masters in Forced Migration Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and a B.A. in Political Science and French from the University of Michigan.


July 28, 2014
Last week, I traded my 25-minute commute in Washington, DC for a four-hour drive through the dry heat of southern New Mexico. Human Rights First took part in a tour of the new facility where the...
July 02, 2014
Human Rights First knows all too well the importance of an immigration and asylum system with sufficient staff, training, and time to ensure that those detained by border authorities have an...
June 25, 2014
Over the last few months, national attention has focused on the increase in Central American migrants apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley after crossing the southern border. These migrants,...