Senior Human Rights Officer, P5

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Location
    Geneva, Switzerland
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Mar 01

Position description

This position is located in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, Field Operations & Technical Cooperation Division (FOTCD), Asia, Pacific, Middle East and North Africa Branch (APMENA). The incumbent, Chief of the Middle East & Northern Africa Section (MENA), reports to the Chief of this Branch.


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

  • Organizes the work of the Middle East & Northern Africa Section; ensures assignments of specific country responsibilities to members of the teams and supervise the section work and sub-regional activities;
  • Supervises timely delivery of outputs specified in the work plans of country desk officers and teams; recommends to the Chief of Branch the best use of human resources in accordance with priorities and work load;
  • Ensures dialogue with key partners within the UN system and outside it;
  • Ensures that OHCHR’s priorities are met in assisting governments in identifying and specifying their needs for advisory services and technical cooperation, including through the preparation and conduct of assessment missions;
  • Negotiates and participates in negotiations to conclude technical cooperation agreements and supervises implementation of projects;
  • Provides policy guidance and focus to all technical cooperation activities in the Section through the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation and the Regular Budget of technical cooperation;
  • Supports the effective functioning of human rights monitoring mechanisms in the Middle East & Northern Africa Region and supervises backstopping of country orientated special rapporteurs/representatives/experts, including the preparation and conduct of field missions and timely submission of reports;
  • Ensures the efficiency of OHCHR field presences and human rights components of UN peace missions; ensures support to long term human rights presences in the countries/regions assigned; raises awareness and promotes specialized knowledge of human rights; ensures that standard procedures and methodologies are in use, applied correctly and that experience is captured and integrated into subsequent development of the methodology;
  • Sets performance objectives, undertakes regular reviews of performance, recognizing good performance and taking appropriate action to address inadequate performance; identifies the training and development needs of staff and takes action to ensure that these are met through training and coaching of less senior staff;
  • Prepares expenditure requests, monitoring expenditure against budget allocations and takes action to prevent/minimize cost overruns;
  • Maximizes delivery from the financial resources available for the terms; ensures proper planning for the preparation of the Annual Appeal and reports to donors; and
  • Performs any other duties, as required.


  • PROFESSIONALISM: Authoritative knowledge of and wide exposure to the full range of human rights issues, including approaches and techniques to address highly sensitive/complex problems; excellent knowledge of institutional mandates, policies and guidelines related to human rights; comprehensive knowledge of the region of assignment, including the political and legal environment as they pertain to human rights, demonstrated ability to complete in depth studies and reach conclusions on possible causes and solutions to human rights problems in specific societies and systems; original thinking, independent judgment and discretion in advising on and handling major issues and problems and excellent knowledge of international human rights and humanitarian law; good political judgment, advocacy and diplomatic skills and ability to understand and respond to complex political and social contexts; ability to relate human rights issues and perspectives (including gender issues) to political, economic and humanitarian programs in affected countries and areas; proven ability to negotiate and mediate under difficult circumstances in a highly sensitive and political environment. 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;
  • ACCOUNTABILITY: Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments; delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards; operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules; supports subordinates; provide oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments; takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable;
  • CREATIVITY: Actively seeks to improve programmes or services; offers new and different options to solve problems or meet client needs; promotes and persuades others to consider news ideas and new ways of doing things; is not bound by current thinking or traditional approaches;
  • EMPOWERING OTHERS: Delegates responsibility, clarifies expectations and gives staff autonomy in important areas of their work; encourage others to set challenging goals; holds others accountable for achieving results related to their area of responsibility; genuinely values all staff members’ input and expertise; shows appreciation and rewards achievement and effort; involves others when making decisions that affect them;
  • JUDGEMENT/DECISION-MAKING: Identifies the key issues in a complex situation, and comes to the heart of the problem quickly; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the Organization; proposes a course of actions or makes a recommendation based on all available information; checks assumptions against facts; determines the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.


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

Work Experience

A minimum of ten (10) years of progressively responsible experience at national and international level in human rights, political affairs, international relations, law or related field is required. Experience working in international organizations in the area of human rights or related field is required. Experience in developing, implementing and coordinating human rights strategies is required. Experience in performing analytical and coordination functions is required. Experience in drafting policy documents, analytical notes and report for intergovernmental bodies is required. Experience in managing a large team is desirable. Experience working on issues related to the Middle East and Northern Africa region in human rights, political, development or humanitarian fields is highly desirable. Experience of institutional legal matters related to managing legal processes of international organizations is desirable. Skills/experience in conflict resolution will be an advantage.


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

Application instructions

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