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Home / Press Release / Human Rights First Mourns the Passing of Robert L. Bernstein
May 28, 2019

Human Rights First Mourns the Passing of Robert L. Bernstein

Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today mourns the death of founder and former board of directors member Robert L. Bernstein, who passed away Monday evening. In response to his passing, Human Rights First President and CEO Michael Breen issued the following statement:

Bob wrote the book on modern human rights and changed countless lives for doing so. For more than four decades he was the standard-bearer for goodness and decency as global trends shifted and concerns evolved. For his inspiration, for his dedication, and for his tireless efforts advancing human rights around the globe, we owe him a debt of gratitude. We will miss him, but we will honor him as we continue his good work.

In 1987, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, now Human Rights First, presented Bernstein with its Human Rights Award. Bernstein’s son, Tom A. Bernstein is current co-chair of Human Rights First’s board of directors.

Bernstein, who was president of Random House for over 20 years, chose to devote much of his life to human rights following traveling to Moscow in 1973 and seeing limitations on free expression. Bernstein was also founder of Human Rights Watch, where he served as chair for twenty years.

Human Rights First extends its condolences to Bernstein’s family and to his many friends and colleagues around the world who were impacted by his contributions to advancing human rights over the past 45 years.

For more information, contact Christopher Plummer at PlummerC@humanrightsfirst.org.