Human rights advocate, lawyer, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch US Program
Nicole Austin-Hillery is Human Rights Watch's inaugural U.S. Program Executive Director. In this newly created role, Ms. Austin-Hillery leads Human Rights Watch’s efforts to end violations in abusive systems within the United States. Her work focuses on improving the U.S. immigration system, tackling race discrimination, rights problems within the domestic criminal justice system, and advocating for national security policies informed by international human rights standards.
Previously, Austin-Hillery was the first Director and Counsel of The Brennan Center’s Washington, D.C. office which she opened in March 2008. At the Brennan Center, she oversaw the growth and development of the Center’s advocacy and policy development work in Washington and served as its chief representative before Congress and the Executive Branch.
Austin-Hillery has testified before state and local legislative bodies as well as Congress. She has published numerous pieces for major news outlets including Time Magazine, The Hill, CNN.com and a host of others. She is a frequent speaker on a host of progressive issues.
Austin-Hillery participated in the The Common Good Forum & American Spirit Awards - May 10, 2019, speaking on the “Renewing Democracy” panel with Cohen Curtis, Max Boot, and Michael Waldman, moderated by Ari Melber.