Job Opening

Department/Office: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 03 January 2019 - 16 February 2019
Job Opening Number: 19-Human Rights Affairs-OHCHR-108187-R-Geneva (X)
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the Executive Office (EO) of the High Commissioner, Executive Direction and Management (EDM) of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva. The incumbent reports to the Deputy High Commissioner (DHC), functioning as her/his Special Assistant, and to the High Commissioner.


The Senior Human Rights Officer will be responsible for the following duties:

Advises the DHC on complex and sensitive human rights and policy issues:
• Formulates human rights strategies, including from a gender perspective; develops a vision or direction for the work of the DHCO and creates the conditions for implementing that vision or direction;
• Proposes policy directives and plans of action for immediate and long range solutions to management as well as human rights problems in specific geographical and thematic areas, provides authoritative advice on these issues to the DHC;
• Designs, develops and implements significant policy and program changes to address regional or global human rights issues, including their gender dimensions;
• Formulates the programme of work, budget and medium-term plan of the unit and participates in the overall formulation and approval of the programme of work, and administrative matters concerning the DHCO;
• Develops and maintains relations with officials at the highest levels of governments and advises them on human rights issues and policies;
• Acts as the focal point for the DHCO's active liaison with all Directors and Chiefs of Branches to ensure coordinated Office-wide action on complex policy and operational matters, identifying and addressing possible problems, overlaps or disconnects;
• Keeps an active overview of the work of all the Services and Divisions to ensure effective and coordinated support to the DHC and her supervisory responsibilities;
• Collaborates closely with the Chief of the Executive Office;
• Coordinates the development of policies, procedures and strategies relating to complex issues for the OHCHR, including on innovation and internal communication;
• Liaises with external partners and governments to exchange information, co-ordinate and seek support for the activities of the Office.

Directs and supervises the work of the DHCO:
• Ensures the smooth and effective operation of the Office of the Deputy High Commissioner (DHCO), including the organization, coordination and supervision of activities and tasks requiring the attention of the DHC, the communication of instructions and decisions of the DHC to those concerned at all levels;
• Ensures the substantive management of the incoming and outgoing correspondence of the DHC; delegating, allocating to other staff in OHCHR the task of responding to or advising for follow-up and ensuring the quality and timeliness of all required follow-up;
• Assigns and supervises responsibilities within the DHCO so that all activities are directed to the completion of the work plan, supervises the workflow of the office to ensure that all required inputs are received and outputs produced in a timely fashion; reviews outputs to ensure that they are of the highest quality;
• Coordinates and integrates the work of the DHCO with the rest of OHCHR, ensuring proper and effective engagement with all Divisions;
• Contributes to the geographic and thematic work of the Executive Office, as relevant;
• Sets performance objectives for staff of the DHCO, undertakes regular reviews of performance, recognizes good performance and takes appropriate actions to address inadequate performance.

Assists the DHC in supervisory responsibilities of OHCHR’s Services and Divisions, and implementation of her/his objectives and programme of work:
• Supports the DHC in ensuring that OHCHR’s Services and Divisions function as a cohesive whole, both internally and in relations with outside entities;
• Provides substantive support to the DHC in the formulation of strategies for OHCHR, from which the medium and longer-term objectives of OHCHR organizational units and operational activities should be derived.


PROFESSIONALISM. Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to the human rights field, functional area or other specialized field. Ability to identify issues, analyze and participate in the resolution of issues/problems. Ability to conduct data collection using various methods. Conceptual analytical and evaluative skills to conduct independent research and analysis, including familiarity with and experience in the use of various research sources, including electronic sources on the Internet, intranet and other databases. Ability to apply judgment in the context of assignments given, plan own work and manage conflicting priorities. 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.

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.

PLANNING AND ORGANISING. 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.

VISION. Identifies strategic issues, opportunities and risks; Clearly communicates links between the Organization’s strategy and the work unit’s goals ; Generates and communicates broad and compelling organizational direction, inspiring others to pursue that same direction ; Conveys enthusiasm about future possibilities.

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 action or makes a recommendation based on all available information ; Checks assumptions against facts ; Determines that the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision ; Makes tough decisions when necessary.


Advanced university degree (Masters degree or equivalent degree) in human rights, business administration, law, political science, international relations or other related fields. 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 ten years of progressively responsible experience in human rights, political affairs, international relations, law or related field is required, of which five years of experience in diplomatic service, UN or other comparable international organisations is required and at least a minimum of five years of experience in managing a team is required. Experience in working directly with and assisting senior officials is desirable


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French is desirable. Knowledge of other official UN languages is desirable


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which will be followed by competency-based interview.

Special Notice

Extension of the appointment is subject to extension of the mandate and/or the availability of the funds.

Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.

Staff members of the United Nations Secretariat must fulfill the lateral move(s) requirements, or geographical to be eligible to apply for this vacancy. Staff members are requested to indicate all qualifying lateral or geographical move(s) in their Personal History Profile (PHP) and cover note.

The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation or sexual abuse, or crimes other than minor traffic offences, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

No Fee


Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.
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