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Director for the East and Horn of Africa at Human Rights Watch
Maria Burnett supervises Human Rights Watch’s work on Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda. She has worked with HRW since 2005, first as the Burundi researcher in the Bujumbura field office, then later as the Uganda researcher based in Kampala. Burnett has worked on a wide range of human rights issues in East Africa, including torture and killings by police, military, intelligence and counterterrorism agents, sexual violence by armed groups, rights of indigenous people, media freedom and justice reform in Central and East Africa. She has authored over 20 reports for Human Rights Watch and edited many more. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Burnett worked as a low-income housing architect and journalist in Southern and West Africa. Burnett holds a law degree from Yale Law School, a master’s degree in architecture from the Architectural Association in London, and a bachelor's in architecture from Princeton University. She speaks French, Italian and Albanian.