Elaine Pearson
Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch – Asia Division




Elaine Pearson of Human Rights Watch discusses the continuing situation in Burma, characterized by tremendous political change in a backdrop of ongoing civil conflict. With recent, albeit selective releases of political prisoners, extensions of civil freedoms, and negotiations of ceasefires by government authorities, Pearson points to a transformation in national political discourse. Of particular importance, what are the lasting ramifications of this change? Pearson considers the challenging question of framing an international response, cautioning that numerous triggers of conflict remain to be substantively addressed. Pearson provides her thoughts on the remaining obstacles of establishing humanitarian access to conflict zones, curbing military abuses against civilian populations, and implementing a monitoring mechanism in collaboration with international actors.
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Elaine Pearson, Background

Elaine Pearson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, supervises work across Asia, especially South East Asia. Based in New York, Pearson regularly briefs members of the media, government, and UN officials. She joined Human Rights Watch in 2007.

Pearson has previously lived and worked in Asia for six years including Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Kathmandu. She has specialized expertise in human trafficking and migration, and has extensively documented human rights violations in trafficking and as a consequence of misguided anti-trafficking strategies. She has worked for the International Labour Organization, the UN Development Fund for Women, and led the first trafficking program at Anti-Slavery International in London. Pearson writes frequently for numerous publications, and her articles have appeared in the Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, the Age and Human Rights Quarterly. Pearson holds degrees in law and arts (English and comparative literature) from Australia’s Murdoch University.