Senior Researcher, Crisis and Conflict

Human Rights Watch, United Kingdom

Skill Required:, Policy/ Advocacy and CampaignResearch and Analysis
Closing Date for Applications: 
5th September, 2019

Job Description

Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking applicants for the position of Senior Researcher in the Crisis and Conflict Division. The Senior Researcher should have deep experience working on developing human rights crises and situations of armed conflict, and ideally on emerging global threats, such as climate change, mass surveillance, and cyberwarfare.

Responsibilities include research, often in high risk environments, writing and multimedia work with short deadlines, advocacy with governments, armed groups, companies and others, international media work to defend the human rights of people caught in armed conflict and political and security crises, and managing staff and consultants.

The Senior Researcher should be prepared to spend extensive periods working in the field in various crisis situations. A background in international humanitarian law and human rights law is essential, as is an understanding of innovative technologies for safe and effective human rights research, such as remote sensing and open source investigations. Experience in complex security environments is key, as is an ability to manage issues of stress and resilience.

This is a full-time position that reports to the Director of the Crisis and Conflict Division. The position will preferably be based in one of HRW’s major offices.


  • Monitor, research and document human rights abuses by collecting and analyzing information from a wide variety of sources including governments, local media, NGOs, journalists, diplomats, security forces and others in the field and remotely;
  • Write and publicize reports, briefing papers, letters, news releases, op-eds, and submissions to international bodies based on research findings;
  • Collaborate with colleagues in the multimedia team to produce videos and other visual material that conveys research findings;
  • Assist in the development and implementation of local, regional, and international strategies to change abusive laws, policies, and practices;
  • Respond promptly to queries from the media, public, and colleagues in the human rights community;
  • Present human rights concerns to government officials, opinion leaders, inter-governmental agencies, and the media;
  • Identify and highlight key political and human rights trends and emerging issues, and analyze abuses within the broader political, social, and economic context to highlight factors contributing to abuses and avenues for effective change;
  • Project Human Rights Watch’s concerns into public debates and to generate tangible pressure on human rights abusers and to find innovative approaches in light of the obstacles and resources available;
  • Respond to and/or anticipate news events in order to press human rights issues; to assess when and where to make public interventions such as op-eds; and think creatively about using the web and social media to generate public support for human rights issues and further advocacy goals;
  • Contribute to internal HRW policy debates on issues relevant to their expertise and areas of focus;
  • Oversee the work of researchers and research assistants, participate in security meetings, and edit reports and other material by other researchers and assist and advise them on missions;
  • Enhance the organization's capacity to respond to crises by providing training and advice on conflict field operations and related planning and policy development;
  • Assist the director of the division and HRW’s Development and Global Initiative Department in conducting fundraising;
  • Work closely with colleague non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local human rights organizations to ensure that HRW’s work complements and enhances their own work;
  • Liaise effectively with HRW staff located in multiple locations throughout the world to ensure effective coordination and delivery of activities;
  • Travel domestically and overseas, as required, to conduct and lead fact-finding missions, including in conflict areas;
  • Deliver outputs in a timely manner and maintain consistency with the agreed strategy and priorities of the Program;
  • Be prepared and willing to work flexible hours to accommodate developing and urgent events; and
  • Carry out any other duties as required.


  • Establish clear work plans for staff and consultants, ensure that their workload is manageable, and that priorities are clearly and effectively communicated. Take responsibility for assignments delegated to others.
  • Provide appropriate and timely feedback, guidance, and training as necessary to staff and consultants. Manage and guide them by listening, having two-way communication, sharing pertinent information, responding appropriately and delegating appropriate responsibilities.


  • Education: An advanced (graduate) degree in international relations, related studies, journalism, law, or social sciences is strongly preferred.
  • Experience: Minimum seven years of relevant experience in field research and documentation skills are required. Candidates should be recognized as an experts in their field who are consulted by policymakers, journalists, academics, activists, and others interested in the country or theme they cover.

Related Skills and Knowledge:

  • Proven track record of field work in dynamic situations, including ability to conduct interviews with victims, witnesses, officials and a wide range of other people is required.
  • Ability to think strategically in dynamic situations to develop and implement realistic and effective local and international advocacy strategies is required.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically about the global and local media environments and how to use the media and electronic media to further advocacy goals is required.
  • Ability to identify, research, analyze and effectively communicate important human rights developments in the area of crisis and conflict work is required.
  • Ability to efficiently distil information about crisis and conflict work so as to focus time and effort on issues of greatest importance or issues that are most capable of being influenced is required.
  • Ability to write and edit accurate, persuasive, well-organized, analytical, and timely reports and press releases is required.
  • Strong knowledge of international human rights and humanitarian law is required.
  • Experience working with innovative technologies to document human rights violations, such as remote sensing and the use of open source techniques, is highly desirable.
  • Experience managing physical and digital security in dynamic and at times dangerous environments is required.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English, including public speaking skills are required; Proficiency in at least one language relevant to the research position is highly desirable.
  • Strong initiative and follow-through, the capacity to think creatively and strategically, excellent writing and editing skills, and a dynamic public speaking ability are required.
  • Strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively within HRW as well as with local partners, government officials, media and other external partners is required.
  • A successful track record in fundraising is desirable.
  • Ability to multi-task effectively, including having good planning and organizing skills and ability to work under pressure are required.
  • Ability to make sound decisions consistent with functions is required.
  • Ability to work flexible hours to accommodate developing and urgent events is required.
  • Ability to manage issues related to stress and resilience in a challenging and fast-paced job is required.
  • Experience working with staff, vendors, and partners from diverse backgrounds in a positive, collaborative, and inclusive team environment is required.

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 September 5, 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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