Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno is the Executive Director of Drug Policy Alliance and formerly served as the C0-Director of Human Rights Watch’s US Program.
McFarland Sánchez-Moreno’s commitment to social justice and drug policy reform dates from her childhood, which she spent mostly in Peru. She was strongly influenced by her early work at Human Rights Watch researching Colombia, where drug profits fueled massacres and official corruption.
McFarland Sánchez-Moreno has advocated against racial discrimination in policing, excessive sentencing, and unfair deportation policies that tear families apart, all issues closely intertwined with the United States’ cruel and irrational approach to drugs.
During her tenure at Human Rights Watch, McFarland Sánchez-Moreno pressed the organization to more directly address the war on drugs as a human rights issue. As a result, in 2013 Human Rights Watch became the first major international human rights organization to call for decriminalization of the personal use and possession of drugs and global drug reform more broadly.
Leitner International Law Lecture Series