Researcher/Advocate, Refugee Rights

Human Rights Watch
July 31, 2019
New York, New York
Post Type
Experience (minimum)
2-5 Years
Education (minimum)
Travel Required?
Base Salary
$70,000 - 80,000


Refugee Rights Program
Application Deadline: August 23, 2019

Human Rights Watch’s Refugee Rights Program seeks a highly qualified Researcher/Advocate to investigate, analyze, and advocate against human rights abuses relating to refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people, and migrants worldwide. The Researcher/Advocate will conduct on-the-ground fact finding to document rights violations against refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants and will advocate for improved rights for uprooted people, including defense of the rights of refugees, particularly with respect to the principle of nonrefoulement, access of asylum seekers to fair determinations of their claims, and decent and humane treatment for all migrants.

The Researcher/Advocate will report to the Refugee Program Director of HRW and will preferably be based in our Geneva office, though other cities where HRW has offices are also possibilities (Amman, Amsterdam, Beirut, Berlin, Brussels, London, Nairobi, and Paris).


1. Research, monitor and document human rights abuses against asylum seekers, refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs) and migrants by collecting and analyzing information from a wide variety of sources including governments, local media, NGOs, victims, witnesses, journalists, diplomats, security forces and others in the field;

2. Monitor legal and policy developments applicable to forcibly displaced persons and migrants, as well as changes in the policy approaches of governments and agencies responsible for meeting the humanitarian needs and protecting the rights of forcibly displaced persons;

3. Assist in the development and implementation of local, regional, and international strategies to change abusive laws, policies, and practices;

4. Act as an advocate and spokesperson for HRW on refugee and IDP issues, including on specific country situations.

5. Write and publicize reports, letters, news releases, op-eds, and submissions to international bodies (such as UNHCR, relevant UN agencies, the IOM, and EU and European Commission, and other major regional intergovernmental fora) based on the findings of the research;

6. Work with the Refugee Program Director to provide advice to HRW staff on the human rights standards relating to asylum seekers, refugees, IDPs, the stateless, migrants, and all who are forcibly displaced, including reviewing documents to ensure that they conform to international standards concerning refugees, the internally displaced, and migrants;

7. Build alliances and networks with other NGOs, advocacy groups, and local human rights organizations working to further the rights of the forcibly displaced to ensure that HRW’s work complements and enhances their own;

8. Develop and implement social media strategies relating to refugees;

9. Work with the Refugee Rights Program Director and HRW’s Development and Outreach Department to conduct fundraising and maintain contact with donors;

10. Liaise effectively with HRW staff in multiple locations throughout the world to ensure effective coordinator and delivery of activities;

11. Demonstrate inclusive and respectful behavior that consistently adheres to HRW’s internal values;

12. Traveling frequently and working flexible hours to accommodate developing urgent events, as needed; and

13. Perform other duties as required.


Education: An advanced (graduate) degree in international relations, journalism, law, social sciences, or related studies is required.

Experience: A minimum of three years of experience in human rights, journalism, law, or a related field is required. Experience working to protect or advance the rights of forcibly displaced people is preferable.

Related Skills and Knowledge:

1. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English is required, fluency in an additional language is preferable.

2. Significant knowledge of international law applicable to monitoring and defending the rights of the forcibly displaced is required.

3. Familiarity with the policies, operating procedures, and standards applicable to international, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental organizations working with forcibly displaced populations is required.

4. Ability to identify and prioritize, research, analyze and effectively communicate human rights issues in a rigorous, timely and sophisticated fashion is required.

5. Ability and sensitivity to conduct interviews with a wide range of people, including victims, witnesses, and government officials are required.

6. Ability to develop and implement realistic and effective local and international advocacy strategies in order to identify and seize advocacy opportunities is required.

7. Ability to produce high quality written materials under tight deadlines is required.

8. Strong interpersonal skills and commitment to work collaboratively within HRW, as well as with external partners in a diverse and inclusive work environment, are required.

9. Ability to work quickly and effectively under pressure with a broad range of people and as part of a team is required.

10. Demonstrated awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations are required.

Salary and Benefits: HRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits. HRW offers a relocation assistance package and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply: Please apply immediately or by August 23, 2019 by visiting our online job portal at No calls or email inquiries, please. Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your application submission, please email Due to the large response, application submissions via email will not be accepted and inquiries regarding the status of applications will go unanswered.

Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. We actively seek a diverse applicant pool and encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply. Human Rights Watch does not discriminate on the basis of ability, age, gender identity and expression, national origin, race and ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or criminal record. We welcome all kinds of diversity. Our employees include people who are parents and nonparents, the self-taught and university educated, and from a wide span of socio-economic backgrounds and perspectives on the world. Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer.

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.

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