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Human Rights Advocate
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Domain Droits de l'homme
Type Contrat à durée déterminée
Location Genève
Rate 80 %

Human Rights Advocate
(Human Rights Council and UPR)

Commencement: As soon as possible / Early 2018
Hours: 80-100%
Based: Geneva, Switzerland with limited travel
Team: Programmes
Reports to: Program Director
Applications close: 30 October 2017

The International Service for Human Rights is seeking an outstanding Human Rights Officer to join its dynamic team. Established in 1984, ISHR is a leading non-governmental organisation with offices in Geneva and New York. ISHR works to support human rights defenders, strengthen laws and mechanisms for their recognition and protection, and ensure a safe and enabling environment for their work at the national, regional and international levels.

This position will be based in Geneva and will focus on supporting human rights defenders in their engagement with the UN Human Rights Council and its mechanisms, and on making the Council and its mechanisms more accessible, effective and protective for defenders.

Key responsibilities

  • Contribute to and coordinate the development and implementation of ISHR's strategies and campaigns at the Human Rights Council (HRC) and its universal periodic review (UPR), in consultation with human rights defenders and in close collaboration with programme managers, the communications team and the director;
  • Coordinate the preparation and delivery of statements, submissions, reports and side events associated with the HRC and UPR; 
  • Represent ISHR at HRC sessions and related meetings;
  • Maintain and develop contacts and communication with ISHR's network of diplomats, UN staff and civil society representatives in relation to the HRC;
  • Take primary responsibility for ISHR signature campaigns and the negotiation of key crosscutting thematic resolutions at the HRC;
  • Maintain and manage ISHR’s institutional memory, and contribute to trainings and capacity building for human rights defenders on the HRC and the UPR;
  • Identify challenges and leverage opportunities regarding the institutional functioning of the HRC, with a particular emphasis on the effective participation of civil society and human rights defenders;
  • Consult and coordinate with other civil society actors, including the HRCnet coordinator hosted by ISHR;
  • Monitor, measure and report on the outcomes and impacts associated with ISHR engagement with the HRC and UPR;
  • Take primary responsibility for logistics associated with ISHR engagement with the HRC and UPR, including in relation to accreditations, room bookings and sign up for statements;
  • Supervise and lead a team of interns and liaise with the communications department to produce the Human Rights Council Monitor and other relevant communications outputs;
  • As capacity permits outside of HRC sessions, support programme managers in the
    development and implementation of their programmatic objectives and activities; and
  • All such other things as may be reasonably requested from time to time or as may be
    necessary to the functioning of a lean, dynamic, flexible and efficient NGO.

Qualifications and experience

It is highly desirable that the successful applicant has or can demonstrate:

  • A degree or relevant qualifications in one of the following areas: law, international relations, journalism, politics or social science;
  • 3 years or more of professional experience working to influence human rights laws, policies and institutions, intergovernmental organisations, diplomatic missions or governments;
  • Experience working at the national or regional levels in the Global South, preferably with an NGO;
  • Direct experience engaging with the HRC and the UPR or related international human rights mechanisms, or supporting human rights defenders or victims of violations in such engagement;
  • Experience in designing and implementing successful human rights programmes, campaigns and initiatives, and working with human rights defenders and activists;
  • Experience in contributing to capacity building and training activities;
  • A strong commitment to, and passion for, the principles and practice of human rights;
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and the ability to work collaboratively, flexibly and effectively in a small, dynamic team;
  • Ability to think and act quickly, creatively and strategically under pressure, and to work autonomously and with limited supervision;
  • Excellent drafting and editing skills, as well as oral and written English; proficiency in a second UN language, particularly Spanish, Arabic or French is an advantage;
  • Excellent organisational and administrative skills; and
  • Capacity to travel overseas, sometimes at short notice.

Equal opportunity

ISHR is an equal opportunity employer and actively seeks a diverse pool of applicants.

For candidates outside Switzerland, ISHR may be able to assist employees with obtaining the  necessary visas and work permits.


ISHR seeks exceptional applicants and offers competitive salaries and benefits. A salary in the order of CHF 6,000-6,500 per month (CHF 72,000 to 78,000 per year) is envisaged, potentially prorated on an 80% basis.

The successful applicant will be employed on an initial one-year contract with the possibility of ongoing employment subject to performance and funding.


Please submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, contact details of two recent professional referees, and a writing sample (no more than 3 pages) as well as a short online application form by 30 October 2017.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

For any query on this position please contact Michael Ineichen at

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Apply online at:
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
1 rue de Varembé
1202 Genève (Geneva)