Rothna Begum is the women’s rights researcher for the Middle East and North Africa region at Human Rights Watch. She conducts investigations and leads the advocacy to end discrimination and violence against women in the Middle East and North Africa region. She has led the research and advocacy on the abuse and exploitation of migrant domestic workers in the Gulf region who mostly hail from Asia and Africa, documented the sexual violence and slavery of Yezidi women by ISIS in Iraq, investigated the government's response on domestic violence in Morocco, Lebanon, and Iraq, and advocated for the repeal of legal provisions that allow rapists to escape prosecution, pushed for women to have the right to drive and an end of the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia, and lobbied for an end child marriage in Yemen.
She is the author of Human Rights Watch reports including: "I Already Bought You": Abuse and Exploitation of Migrant Domestic Workers in the United Arab Emirates; "I Was Sold": Abuse and Exploitation of Migrant Domestic Workers in Oman; and "Working Like a Robot": Abuse and Exploitaiton of Tanzanian Domestic Workers in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Rothna previously worked for Amnesty International for five and a half years’ researching human rights violations in the Gulf region primarily specializing in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, and Oman, and Iran including on women's rights, migrant workers' rights, freedom of expression, counter-terrorism, death penalty, and corporal punishment. Rothna holds a LLB in Law and a LLM in Legal Theory from the London School Economics and Political Science during which she studied public international law, international human rights law, and Islamic law.