Senior Researcher, DRC

Human Rights Watch, Kinshasa, Congo

Skill Required:, Research and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
7 to 10 Year
Closing Date for Applications: 
23rd July, 2019

Job Description

The Africa Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW) is seeking applicants for the position of Senior Researcher on the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Africa Division works to promote human rights in Africa and conducts a wide range of work, including human rights investigations, report writing, advocacy, building local partnerships, and media work. The Senior Researcher will be responsible for developing and implementing a research and advocacy agenda on human rights conditions in Congo. The position reports to the Central Africa Director of the Africa Division and will preferably be based in Kinshasa with regular travel to Goma.


  • Research, monitor and document human rights abuses in Congo by collecting and analyzing information from a wide variety of sources including victims and witnesses, government officials, local media, NGOs, local activists, journalists, diplomats, security forces and others;
  • Write and publicize reports, briefing papers, letters, news releases, op-eds, and submissions to international bodies to disseminate our research findings and policy recommendations for addressing human rights abuses;
  • Serve as the manager and leader for Human Rights Watch’s two offices in Congo (Kinshasa and Goma), including financial and administrative oversight;
  • Liaise with advocates, communications officers, administrative personnel, and other staff across Human Rights Watch;
  • Oversee the work of junior researchers and research assistants in Congo, including by assisting and advising them on missions, participating in security meetings, and editing reports and other material they produce;
  • Lead, motivate, and mentor direct-reports, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely constructive feedback, ensuring balanced workload, providing guidance on professional growth, and monitoring staff well-being as it pertains to stress and resilience issues and self-care;
  • Develop productive and respectful working relationships with colleague non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local human rights organizations to ensure that HRW’s work complements and enhances their own work, and oversee HRW’s existing projects with local partners;
  • 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, including presenting human rights concerns to various parties, generate tangible pressure on human rights abusers, and find innovative approaches in light of the obstacles and resources available;
  • Assist in the development and implementation of local, regional, and international advocacy strategies to change abusive laws, policies, and practices;
  • Conduct media interviews and high-level advocacy on HRW’s research findings and recommendations with Congolese officials, diplomats, and others;
  • Respond to and 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 multimedia and social media to communicate our positions in clear and compelling ways and to advance advocacy;
  • Contribute to internal HRW policy debates on issues relevant to their expertise on Congo;
  • Travel domestically and overseas, as required, to conduct fact-finding missions and advocacy;
  • Deliver outputs in a timely manner and maintain consistency with the agreed strategy and priorities of the Africa Division;
  • Assist the Africa Division and HRW’s Development and Outreach Department in conducting fundraising;
  • Carry out any other duties as required.


Education: An advanced (graduate) degree in international relations, related studies, journalism, law, or social sciences is strongly preferred.
Experience: A minimum of seven years of relevant experience in human rights, media, or a related field is required. Experience managing teams and conducting field research and documentation, including time spent living and/or working in Congo, are required.

Related Skills and Knowledge:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English and French, including public speaking skills, are required. Lingala and/or Swahili skills are desirable.
  • Ability to write and edit accurate, persuasive, well-organized, analytical, and timely reports and press releases is required.
  • Strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively and effectively within Human Rights Watch as well as with local partners, government officials, media and other external partners in a culturally sensitive manner is required.
  • Ability to think strategically in order to develop and implement realistic and effective local and international advocacy strategies in order to seize advocacy opportunities and lead high-level advocacy meetings is required.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically about the global and local media environments and how to use the media and social media to further advocacy goals is required.
  • Experience supervising staff and working with partners in a positive, collaborative, diverse, and inclusive work environment is required.
  • Experience in managing projects with multiple internal and external partners is required.
  • Strong financial literacy and experience managing budgets are required.
  • Experience fundraising and working with donors is required.
  • Experience working in international human rights, and the ability to identify, research, analyze, and effectively communicate important human rights developments in Congo are required.
  • Ability to efficiently distil information about Congo 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 multi-task effectively, including having good planning and organizing skills and ability to work well under pressure are required.
  • Ability to promote inclusive and positive work environment and model wellness practices and inclusive behavior that consistently adhere to HRW’s internal values is required.
  • Knowledge of the particular stresses of working to defend human rights and understanding the importance of building personal and organizational resilience are required.

Other: Willingness and ability to work flexible hours to accommodate developing and urgent events is 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 July 23, 2019 by visiting our online job portal at and attaching a letter of interest and a resume or CV, 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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