Director, Asia At Human Rights Watch

Asia Division
Multiple Locations Considered
Application Deadline: May 29, 2022

Organization Overview

Human Rights Watch advances human rights worldwide. We investigate wrongs, expose the facts, offer solutions, and challenge those with power to respect rights. We collaborate with people claiming their rights, learn from partners, and engage the public. Human Rights Watch upholds the freedoms and defends the protections that promote dignity, equality, and justice.

Our 500 staff based in more than 50 countries conduct research into human rights abuses, publicize our findings, and advocate for change; we raise money to sustain our work, ensure our security, and manage a complex operations environment.

That mission is as urgent as it has ever been, and it faces complex new challenges. We must contend with the failures of governments to meet their obligations on water, land, education, and food. We must respond to conflict and crisis on an extraordinary scale, and we must confront the persistence of repression around the world. Climate change, the resurgence of authoritarian populism, rapidly advancing technologies, and the effects of deep inequality all compound these threats to rights. Innovation, efficiency, and diversity are critical to our success in meeting these challenges, and to delivering sustained impact.

Human Rights Watch’s guiding principles include independence, accurate and fair fact-finding, an impact orientation, and engagement with partners. Our core internal values include transparency, diversity and inclusion, learning and trust, safety and resilience, and accountability.

Position Overview

Human Rights Watch is seeking a human rights professional to lead its Asia Division, one of its six regional research and advocacy programs.

The Asia Director should be an effective, empathetic manager and a persuasive communicator and advocate in the field of international human rights. They should have proven dedication to the defense and advancement of human rights and a deep knowledge human rights research and advocacy methodologies. They should have broad knowledge of human rights issues in the Asia region, together with deep expertise and experience in at least one Asian subregion.

The Asia Director is responsible for ensuring the production of research, communications, and advocacy materials that can serve to promote and defend human rights in Asia by generating domestic and international pressure to curb human rights violations. Together with the Asia Division’s management team the Director is responsible for the day-to-day management and supervision of the division’s staff, setting priorities and objectives, overseeing and guiding research plans and partnerships, editing research products, ensuring the security and wellbeing of staff, managing risk, and responding to opportunities for impact.

The Asia Director must lead and motivate the Asia division’s more than 30 staff, most of them based in Asia across multiple time zones far removed from headquarters often working or living in difficult security environments. The Director must demonstrate the ability and commitment to foster the safety, well-being, and resilience of staff and to promote diversity and inclusion. The Director will work with staff to design innovative approaches to research and advocacy to tackle key human rights challenges. The Director must ensure the highest research standards in a culture of learning, trust, teamwork, and collaboration.

The Asia Director reports to the Program Office and is assisted by the Asia division senior management team.

Multiple locations will be considered for this position. The director will need to communicate effectively both with staff across multiple time zones and with Human Rights Watch’s New York headquarters.


  1. Provide leadership, vision, and priorities for the Asia division;
  2. In collaboration with relevant internal and external partners, oversee and develop research, advocacy, and communications plans, including social media and multimedia production, on human rights issues in Asia. Ensure that plans include clear goals and benchmarks, and that they align with the broader strategic plan and programmatic priorities of the organization;
  3. Oversee and manage the production of research products and advocacy materials and ensure these materials generate domestic and international pressure to curb human rights violations. Help to ensure that all materials adhere to the organization’s values and standards and are appropriately vetted;
  4. Promote and monitor well-being of the Asia division’s staff as it pertains to stress and resilience issues and self-care, foster an inclusive team culture, and work collaboratively with the Asia division’s staff in addressing challenges and opportunities in the region;
  5. Manage budget setting and spending priorities, in co-operation with the Finance Department, and regularly monitor the Asia division’s budget and ensure that resources are allocated to maximize impact;
  6. Collaborate with the Development Department on fundraising, providing requested information and draft reports to donors in a timely manner, promoting the work of Human Rights Watch as a whole, and actively soliciting and following up with potential new donors to achieve program-specific fundraising goals;
  7. Respond to and/or anticipate relevant news events in order to frame developing news stories through a human rights prism, advise senior management on effective responses and advocacy, and project a human rights perspective into coverage of developing news events globally, regionally, and nationally;
  8. Along with other experts in the Asia division, represent the organization regularly in the international media on a range of Asian issues and advocate with high-level officials of countries in the region, the United States, the European Union, the UN, and other relevant governments and international and regional organizations;
  9. Foster and strengthen meaningful and equitable partnerships with other human rights actors and lead our collaboration in the human rights movement;
  10. Ensure the safety and resilience of staff, information security, and security of interlocutors and partners in their work with HRW; ensure that staff receive appropriate training in security policies and procedures, and that relevant policies and procedures are implemented effectively; and oversee the security of regional offices under direct program supervision;
  11. Lead, motivate, develop, and mentor direct reports by communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely constructive feedback, ensuring balanced workload, and supporting professional growth;
  12. Promote a culture of excellent management practice within the Asia division;
  13. Promote an inclusive, transparent, and positive work environment including by soliciting diverse points of views, encouraging staff to participate in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, and proactively addressing bias, discrimination, and microaggressions;
  14. Work collaboratively with all departments and divisions to ensure operational effectiveness, efficiency, and impact;
  15. Effectively communicate the concerns and needs of Asia division staff to senior management and ensure these concerns and needs factor into organizational decision making, and effectively communicate organizational policies and decisions to Asia division staff;
  16. Actively contribute to internal cross-organizational priorities, including increasing our alignment and collaboration, effectiveness and sustainability, wellbeing and resilience, and diversity, equity and inclusion; and
  17. Perform other responsibilities as required.

Candidate Profile

The successful candidate will be a thoughtful, collaborative, and strategic leader with broad knowledge and understanding of the Asia region, expertise on at least one Asian subregion and at least 1o years of relevant experience in international human rights or related work, including investigations, reporting, and advocacy, and with at least five years in a senior management position, preferably one that involved both managing down and up within an organization or institution.

Education and Experience: A minimum of ten years of relevant work experience is required, with at least five years in a management position. Education in international relations, law, journalism, social sciences, or a related field is desired.

Required Qualifications / Skills

  1. Broad knowledge of human rights issues in the Asia region, with deep expertise and experience in at least one Asian subregion, excellent political judgment, and ability to identify trends.
  2. Relevant international field experience in at least one Asian subregion and familiarity with human rights research methodologies.
  3. Recognized management experience, including supervising a team of talented professionals in multiple global locations across multiple time zones.
  4. Ability to identify critical human rights challenges and opportunities and formulate strategy.
  5. Track record of dealing with the media and cultivating relationships with journalists.
  6. Ability to defend and explain complex issues and positions to intergovernmental bodies as well as staff, including senior officials.
  7. Strong interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence in order to work collaboratively within HRW as well as with local partners, government officials and external media partners.
  8. Track record of identifiable and measurable successes in managing and advising on complex projects, implementing operational change, conducting monitoring and evaluation, and ensuring high-quality deliverables.
  9. Demonstrated awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations, and ability to foster a diverse and inclusive team culture
  10. Track record of, and passion for, being a collaborative, transparent team player who can empathetically engage with staff across levels and jurisdictions.
  11. Ability to coach colleagues to understand stakeholders’ perspectives and to handle high-level stakeholder challenges.

Salary and Benefits: HRW encourages applicants from or in the region and offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits. If based in the United States, the salary range for this position will be USD 160,000 – 185,000. Salary ranges outside of the United States vary based on location. Citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply; HRW offers a relocation assistance package and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required.

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.

How to apply

How to Apply: Please apply immediately or by May 29, 2022 by visiting our online job portal at and submitting a CV and cover letter, 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, or if you require a disability-related accommodation to submit your application 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.