Joanne Mariner

Joanne Mariner

Joanne Mariner is the director of Hunter College’s Human Rights Program.  Before joining Hunter in 2011, she worked at Human Rights Watch, most recently as the director of the organization’s Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program. She has investigated human rights abuses around the globe, focusing in recent years on counterterrorism laws and policies, indefinite detention, the criminal prosecution of suspected terrorists, and the nexus between counterterrorism and the law of armed conflict.

During her tenure at Human Rights Watch, she covered a wide variety of issues, documenting war crimes in Colombia, Kosovo and Darfur, political violence in Haiti, and prison conditions in Hong Kong, Brazil and the United States, among others.  She has published widely on human rights topics, conducted advocacy before U.N. and regional bodies, and appeared on national media such as ABC News, NPR, BBC World, and C-SPAN.  She drafted Human Rights Watch's 1999 submission to the House of Lords in the Pinochet case, and is the author of a ground-breaking 2001 report on prison rape that led to the passage of national legislation to address the problem. In 2006, she testified before the European Parliament about CIA activities in Europe.

Mariner is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and belongs to the board of advisors of the International Justice Resource Center and the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism - The Hague.  She has taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law Center and American University’s Washington College of Law. In 2005, she received the American Society of International Law's Distinguished Women in International Law award.

Before joining Human Rights Watch, Mariner served as a law clerk to Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College and received a JD from Yale Law School. She speaks French and Spanish.

Columns by Joanne Mariner

Humanitarianism As Terrorism

Justia columnist Joanne Mariner, attorney and director of Hunter College’s Human Rights Program, discusses the situation in Somalia, which is experiencing a famine in the midst of armed conflict—leading refugees to flee the country for Kenya and Ethiopia. The situation, as Mariner explains, has created a humanitarian emergency and has led to a horrifyingly high death rate of both refugees and those still in Somalia. Though the Somali regime’s ban on foreign aid has been lifted, Mariner explains that extremely broad U.S. restrictions on “material support to terrorist organizations” have made innocent humanitarian groups wary of providing aid in areas controlled by Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamist group that controls most of Somalia’s territory. Mariner calls for expedited licenses ASAP, so that humanitarian groups can operate free of fear, and calls for legal reform for the future.