News & Commentary written by Jamil Dakwar

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Jamil Dakwar

Director, ACLU Human Rights Program


Jamil Dakwar (@jdakwar) is the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Human Rights Program (HRP) which is dedicated to holding the U.S. government accountable to its international human rights obligations and commitments. He leads a team of lawyers and advocates who use a human rights framework to complement existing ACLU legal and legislative advocacy, primarily focusing on promoting racial and economic justice and ending mass incarceration, police violence, and extreme sentencing. HRP conducts human rights research, documentation, and public education, as well as engages in litigation and advocacy before U.S. courts and international human rights bodies.

Mr. Dakwar conducts advocacy before the U.S. government on human rights issues, with a particular focus on the domestic implementation of U.S. human rights obligations. His expertise frequently appears in domestic and international media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Public Radio International, Business Insider, The Intercept, and Al Jazeera English. He serves as the ACLU’s main representative to the United Nations and leads the ACLU’s international advocacy before other regional and international bodies, including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Mr. Dakwar was one of ACLU’s first observers to the military commission system at Guantanamo Bay in 2004. In 2020, he was appointed as a member of the New York State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Prior to joining the ACLU in 2004, Jamil worked at Human Rights Watch, where he conducted research, advocated, and published reports on issues of torture and detention in Egypt, Morocco, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territory. Before coming to the United States, he was a senior attorney with Adalah, a leading human rights group in Israel, where he filed and argued human rights cases before Israeli courts and advocated before international forums. He is a graduate of Tel Aviv University and NYU School of Law. He is adjunct professor at New York University and Hunter College. He is trilingual and speaks Arabic (mother tongue), English, and Hebrew.