Research Assistant, Iraq

Human Rights Watch, New York, United States

Skill Required:, Research and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
1 to 3 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
30th August, 2019

Job Description

The Middle East and North Africa (“MENA) Division of Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking a Research Assistant to assist in the monitoring and reporting of human rights violations in Iraq. This is position is based in Iraq and will report to the Iraq Senior Researcher.


  • Establish and maintain contacts with government officials and other local actors, including using networks among local rights activists and organizations, where safe enough to do so, to expand HRW’s monitoring capabilities and access to information;
  • Facilitate meetings with NGOs, government officials, and individuals able to provide information regarding human rights abuses, where safe enough to do so;
  • Assist with monitoring human rights conditions and documenting abuses by collecting and analyzing information from a wide variety of sources including governments, local media, NGOs, victims, witnesses, and journalists, as requested by the Senior Researcher;
  • Follow up on specific cases of human rights violations, including prison visits and interviews with family members; assist in follow-up with authorities and with local UN representatives on strategic cases on which HRW is advocating for justice, as requested by the Senior Researcher;
  • Advise the Senior Researcher on local media advocacy;
  • Under the guidance of the Senior Researcher, provide written analyses and write-ups of interviews, and, when appropriate, first drafts of briefing papers, letters, news releases, submissions to international bodies, etc.;
  • Assist in preparing reports for discussion with governmental officials, NGOs, IGOs and other external partners, as requested by the Senior Researcher;
  • Manage local logistical issues, in conjunction with the Senior Researcher, such as finding drivers, fixers, and translators;
  • Advise the Senior Researcher on security issues, particularly regarding field missions, including by developing contacts in insecure areas who can provide timely and trustworthy advice on security conditions and precautions;
  • Translate documents from English to Arabic and from Arabic to English and interpret for the Senior Researcher during meetings and interviews held in local languages;
  • Proofread translations of documents by other translators, for ensuring that all HRW documents in local languages are polished, accurate, and up to HRW standards; and
  • Travel to the field, including to insecure areas, with the Senior Researcher, other researchers or staff, and independently, to conduct research; travel internationally as appropriate to attend specific trainings or planning sessions.


  • Education: A bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in international relations, law, journalism, social sciences or relevant studies is required.
  • Experience: A minimum of one year of experience working in an office environment or assisting in field research is required. A background in human rights, legal, political science or development is preferred.

Related Skills and Knowledge:

  • Demonstrated interest in human rights issues in Iraq is required.
  • Ability to multi-task effectively, including having good planning and organizing skills and ability to work under pressure are required.
  • Strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively within HRW as well as with external partners are required.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English and Arabic are required.
  • Excellent computer skills and internet/social media research skills are required.
  • Strong initiative and follow-through, the capacity to think creatively and strategically, excellent writing and editing skills are required.
  • Ability to make sound decisions consistent with function is required.
  • Ability to work with staff, vendors, and partners from diverse backgrounds in a positive, collaborative, and inclusive team environment is required.

Other: Applicants for this position must possess current work authorization in Iraq.

Salary and Benefits: HRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers comprehensive compensation and 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 30, 2019 by visiting our online job portal at and attaching a letter of interest, resume or CV, a brief writing sample (unedited by others), and contact information for three references, preferably as PDF files. 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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