Human Rights Officer

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland

Skill Required:, HR and Admin
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
10th January, 2021

Job Description

This position is located in the Special Procedures Branch (SPB) in the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Rights to Development Division (TESPRDD) in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva. The Human Rights Officer reports to the Chief of Groups and Accountability Section and the Chief of the Special Procedures Branch.


Within delegated authority, the Human Rights Officer will be responsible for the following duties:

  •  Monitoring the situation regarding the situation of human rights issues worldwide relevant to the assigned mandate(s) through research and analysis of incoming information from governments, IGOs (Intergovernmental Organizations), UN agencies, funds and programs, as well as NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) and individuals;
  •  Assists the mandate-holder (Special Rapporteur/Independent Expert) in fact-finding missions, including preparation of the mission, drafting of mission reports and follow up to the implementation of the recommendations;
  •  Provides support to the mandate-holder in drafting of the annual reports to the Human Rights Council and General Assembly, if applicable;
  •  Follows up on implementation of decisions rendered by policy-making organs and prepares a work-plan which is coherent with the Branch work-plan and the responsibilities assigned,
  •  Prepares correspondence for the mandate-holder with governments, IGOs, UN agencies, funds and programs, as well as NGOs and individuals;
  •  Drafts oral presentations for the annual reports, as well as other presentations and other articles on the mandate;
  •  Prepares thematic seminars and consultations to seek expert views on themes of relevance to the assigned mandate;
  •  Provides substantive inputs into OHCHR's policies and statements in areas relevant to the mandate;
  •  Liaises with OHCHR thematic and geographic desk officers and with other human rights conventional and extra-conventional mechanism;
  •  Liaises with representatives of governments, IGOs, UN agencies, funds and programs, as well as NGOs and individuals in connection with the mandate and representing OHCHR at working level meetings with those partners;
  •  Undertakes research relating to the mandate;
  •  Oversees the provision of administrative support to the mandate holder;
  •  Provides guidance to new/junior staff;
  •  Performs any other related duties, as required.


  • PROFESSIONALISM.Knowledge of and exposure to a range of human rights issues, to include approaches and techniques to address sensitive problems; Knowledge of and exposure to institutional mandate, policies and guidelines; Knowledge of issues related to specific groups as well as to civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights; sound knowledge of problems, i.e. political, ethnic, racial, gender, social, economic, etc having a negative impact on the enjoyment of all human rights; Analytical and research skills; sound judgement and negotiating skills. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.
  • PLANNING AND ORGANIZING. Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.
  • COMMUNICATION. Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.


  • Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent degree) in law, human rights, political science or international relations, or other related disciplines. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of five years of progressively responsible work experience in human rights is required.
  • A minimum of one year of work experience with the UN human rights programmes and mechanisms is also required.
  • Experience in human rights monitoring, reporting and/or investigating is desirable.
  • Experience in legal analysis and drafting official reports is also desirable.
  • Experience organizing visits, events, seminars or conferences for various stakeholders in the field is desirable.


  • English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another UN official language is desirable.


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