Payal Shah is the director of the Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones, a training and advocacy initiative that bolsters the ability of doctors, nurses, police officers, lawyers, and judges to support survivors of sexual violence and to collect, document, and preserve forensic evidence related to these crimes.
Shah is a human rights lawyer with more than 15 years of experience conceptualizing and leading capacity building, coalition development, strategic litigation, fact-finding, and human rights advocacy to advance gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Prior to joining PHR, Payal worked as an independent legal consultant specializing in gender, health, and human rights, with clients ranging from UN agencies to international and regional NGOs, and academic institutions working on global health and human rights. Shah has also worked at the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she directed the Asia program, and as an associate at Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, where she supported pro bono litigation relating to reproductive rights, detainee rights at Guantánamo Bay detention center, and gender-based violence.
Shah is a Fellow with the University of Toronto Faculty of Law’s International Program on Reproductive and Sexual Health Law. She has also previously served as a Practitioner-in-Residence with Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute. She has published extensively on gender, health, and human rights in Asia and globally.
Shah is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where she was named a Jack Kent and Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and earned a certificate in comparative and international law. She also earned a BA with high honors from Swarthmore College.