As Staff Attorney for Human Rights Accountability at Human Rights First, Scott Johnston works on the Foreign Policy team engaging U.S. government actors on the ways that American law and federal policy affect human rights outcomes internationally. Scott manages the day-to-day operations of Human Rights First's Human Rights Sanctions and Accountability Coalition, a group of over 150 NGOs using the Global Magnitsky Act—among other law enforcement mechanisms—to create accountability for serious human rights abuses and corruption perpetrated by bad actors around the world. His role includes training coalition members regarding human rights sanctions, consulting with them on advocacy opportunities relevant to their work, assisting in crafting evidence into dossiers, and liaising with the federal government on enforcement. He is also involved in other aspects of the Foreign Policy Team's work regarding Latin America and the Middle East.
Scott received his juris doctor from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and Executive Editor of the Journal of Law and Social Problems. While at Columbia Law, he also served on the Student Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Institute and was a member of the Human Rights Clinic, where he worked on a project documenting mass graves in the Central African Republic and supporting local actors seeking transparency and accountability for war crimes. During his summers, he worked on a defense team at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and at Human Rights First on the National Security team.
Prior to law school, Scott was the director of a Ford Foundation project recording oral histories of formerly incarcerated Americans and creating presentations on mass incarceration for college campuses. Previously, he lived and worked for three years in Brazil. He has a B.A. in Sociology from Harvard University with a Secondary Field in Portuguese Language and Literature. He is an avid supporter of the San Diego Padres.