Steve Crawshaw was a journalist at The Independent, which he joined at launch in 1986. His roles there included chief foreign correspondent, foreign news editor, Russia and East Europe Editor and Germany bureau chief. He covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Balkan wars. Other countries he reported from included China, Myanmar, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
From The Independent, he moved to become the first UK director and then UN advocacy director at Human Rights Watch (2002-2010). He was then international advocacy director and Director of the Office of the Secretary General at Amnesty International (2010-2018). He was policy and advocacy director at Freedom from Torture (2018-2022). He is now writing Prosecuting the Powerful, a book on war crimes and international justice, including reporting from Ukraine.
He is a trustee of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and chair of trustees at Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID).
He is the author of Goodbye to the USSR (1992), Easier Fatherland: Germany and the Twenty-First Century (2004; German edition, 2005), Small Acts of Resistance (foreword by Václav Havel, 2010), and Street Spirit: The Power of Protest and Mischief (foreword by Ai Weiwei, 2016). Prosecuting the Powerful (The Bridge Street Press) is scheduled for publication in 2025.
He studied Russian and German at the universities of Oxford and St Petersburg (Leningrad), and was a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, London School of Economics.