Deputy Director, Disability Rights At Human Rights Watch

Disability Rights Division
Multiple Locations Considered
Application Deadline: January 23, 2022

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has become a pioneer in mainstreaming disability rights within the broader human rights agenda, and is seen by disability rights experts and disability rights organizations as an important partner in global advocacy efforts. In more than 25 countries, our work has addressed a broad range of issues such as violence against women and children with disabilities, access to education and health care, institutionalization, legal capacity, political participation, and the impact of armed conflict.

The Disability Rights Division of HRW is seeking a Deputy Director to assist the Director in managing the dynamic and diverse team and ensuring rigorous and timely outputs. This position reports to the Director of the Division based in Brussels. The Deputy Director can be based in any of our major global offices, but time zones with shared office hours to Eastern Standard Time will be preferred..

Due to Covid-19, many of our global offices are currently closed or operating in reduced capacities. The successful candidate may be required to work remotely in the interim. We recognize that this moment, during the pandemic, is a uniquely difficult time for most people, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, and we aim to be as flexible and supportive as possible in both the recruitment for and onboarding of this position.


• Work in partnership with the Director in overseeing both the day-to-day and longer-term research and reporting on disability rights and older persons’ rights issues around the globe. Facilitate the publication of timely, analytical and credible reports, the development of advocacy materials, and the use of these products to generate domestic and international pressure to curb human rights violations and respond to and/or anticipate new events and developments;
• Edit a large volume of work produced by the team and staff in other divisions reporting on disability rights or older persons rights, including letters, briefing papers, memos, reports, press releases, dispatches, and op-eds;
• Manage and guide staff under their supervision; Mentor staff by providing practical and innovative ideas on research, writing, advocacy, communications, and outreach;
• Assist the Director to establish clear work plans and manageable workload for staff and communicate priorities clearly and effectively. Provide oversight and take responsibility for delegated assignments;
• Assist the Director in developing, communicating, and executing effective research, advocacy, and communications strategies for the division;
• Interact regularly with HRW staff across all departments to ensure effective coordination and delivery of program activities, in keeping with the organization’s focus;
• Develop and maintain relationships with key colleagues in allied organizations and NGOs;
• Conduct advocacy with high-level officials to effect policy change;
• Conduct research trips to support and train researchers;
• Recruit, hire, onboard, and train new staff;
• Assist the Director in driving internal efforts on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (including accessibility);
• Assist the Director in achieving fundraising goals, recruiting new donors, and reporting back to donors in a timely manner;
• Assist the Director in regularly monitoring the budget and ensure that resources are allocated appropriately;
• Assist the Director in developing and implementing effective systems for team coordination and communication;
• Provide appropriate and timely feedback on staff performance and provide guidance, coaching and training, as necessary.


Education: An advanced (graduate) degree in international relations, journalism, law, or social science, or equivalent work experience is required.

Experience: A minimum of 7 years of relevant experience in international human rights or related work, including investigations, reporting, and advocacy, with at least three years in a management position, is required. Persons with a lived experience as a member of the disability community are strongly encouraged to apply. Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of this position.

Required Skills and Knowledge:

  1. Extensive knowledge of disability rights issues is required; knowledge of the rights of older people is desirable;
  2. Relevant international field experience and with a strong background in human rights research, advocacy and communications;
  3. Strong editing skills are required;
  4. Recognized management experience, including supervising a team of talented professionals in multiple global locations;
  5. Ability to defend and explain complex issues and positions to internal and external audiences, including senior officials in governments and intergovernmental bodies;
  6. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English are required;
  7. Demonstrated experience in strategy, project management, and systems development;
  8. Strong problem-solving skills and proven flexibility to navigate dynamic internal and external environments;
  9. Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and experience applying DEI values in the workplace;
  10. Ability to think creatively and strategically, initiate projects, identify advocacy goals, develop short- and long-term plans, and follow through on plans;
  11. Strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively within HRW as well as with local partners, government officials and media; and
  12. Capacity to appropriately plan, prioritize and manage multiple, sometimes competing, demands efficiently in a challenging, fast-paced environment.

Salary and Benefits: HRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits. HRW will pay reasonable relocation expenses and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.

Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. We actively seek a diverse applicant pool and encourage candidates of all backgrounds based anywhere to apply. Human Rights Watch does not discriminate on the basis of disability, 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.

How to apply

How to Apply: Please apply immediately or by January 23, 2022, by visiting our online job portal at and submitting a cover letter and CV or resume. 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 or if you require accommodations during the application process, 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.