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Lois Whitman, MS, JD

Position: Board Member
Lois Whitman

Lois Whitman is a committed human rights activist and leader and is the founder and former director (1994-2012) of the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Division. The division investigates and seeks to end human rights abuses of children, including the use of children as soldiers, the worst forms of child labor, torture of children, attacks on students, teachers, and schools, and also addresses issues involving juvenile justice and migrant children.   

Ms. Whitman has been associated with Human Rights Watch since 1985. She has conducted human rights investigations and written reports on abuses in many countries, including Turkey, Greece, Northern Ireland, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Liberia, Jamaica, Cuba, and Sri Lanka. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, Newsday, Kathimerini (Athens), and Africa Report

She has testified before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and US Congressional committees on several occasions. Ms. Whitman has taught Women and the Law at Hunter College, Law and Social Work at Stony Brook School of Social Work, and Human Rights of Children at the Columbia School for International and Public Affairs.  

A lawyer and a social worker, Ms. Whitman received a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College, a Master’s degree in social work from Columbia University, and a law degree from Rutgers University. She received the Smith College Medal in 2002 and the Dean's Medal from CUNY Law School in 2009. She is currently on the Board of the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Board of Visitors of the CUNY Law School.

Ms. Whitman joined the PHR Board in 2013.