Alison Leal Parker, Managing Director of Human Rights Watch’s US Program, helps to guide Human Rights Watch’s work on domestic human rights issues in the United States, with a focus on immigration policy. From 2001-2002, she served as a Sandler fellow and the organization’s director of refugee policy, in both positions documenting and advocating against violations of the rights of refugees around the world.
Parker has conducted human rights investigations in prisons, jails, immigration detention centers, and immigrant communities throughout the United States as well as in refugee settings in Africa and Central Asia. She has conducted extensive advocacy before the governments of the United States and Europe; has testified before state legislatures and the US Congress; and is a frequent voice in the media. Parker has edited and authored numerous Human Rights Watch reports, including a landmark examination of the sentencing of children to life without the possibility of parole, which was subsequently cited in two U.S. Supreme Court decisions limiting the practice. She also sits on the Board of Directors for the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth.
A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and Oxford University, Parker holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a JD from Columbia Law School. Prior to joining HRW, she worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Jesuit Refugee Service, and engaged in sovereign litigation as an attorney at Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton in New York.