Director (Environment and Human Rights)

Human Rights Watch

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The Program Department of Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking a senior, experienced professional to direct the newly created Environment and Human Rights Program. As vulnerable communities around the world face growing consequences of environmental degradation, pollution, and climate change, the Environment and Human Rights Program will work to protect the rights of people around the globe, especially the poor and marginalized. The Environment and Human Rights Program will initially focus on human rights issues concerning toxic pollution, climate change, and the protection of environmental defenders. This position may be based in one of HRW’s major offices (multiple locations) and reports to the Deputy Executive Director for Program, based in New York.


  1. Establish the new Environment and Human Rights Program, as well as developing program priorities and strategy;
  2. Oversee research, reporting, and advocacy for the Environment and Human Rights Program;
  3. Oversee the publication of analytical and credible reports and other advocacy materials, ensuring such materials generate domestic and international pressure to curb human rights violations related to the environment;
  4. Communicate regularly with the Deputy Executive Director for Program, his deputies, and other HRW senior managers to ensure the program’s policies and objectives are aligned with the organization’s focus;
  5. Liaise effectively with HRW staff around the world to ensure effective coordination of the work on the environment and human rights across program boundaries to maximize impact;
  6. 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 strategies, and project a human rights perspective into coverage of key environmental issues, regionally, nationally, and globally;
  7. Represent the organization frequently before the international media and advocate with high-level officials from governments, multilateral organizations, and other relevant international and regional institutions;
  8. Coordinate closely with the Development Department on fundraising, providing requested information and draft reports to donors in a timely manner, promoting the work of HRW as a whole, and actively soliciting and following up with potential new donors to achieve program-specific fundraising goals;
  9. Foresee risks and allow for contingencies when planning; monitor and adjust program plans and actions as necessary; and resolve any disputes or conflicts in a timely manner with appropriate consultation with supervisors and HRW senior managers;
  10. Build up internal commitment to and engagement in work on environment and human rights; ensure organization-wide coordination and complementarity;
  11. Help develop a strong group of environmental and other groups for partnership and collaboration as well as maintain good working relationships with external partners; and
  12. Carry out other duties as necessary.

Managerial Responsibilities:

  1. Manage the program’s output and staff effectively with the aim of promoting and maintaining strong unity and sense of purpose within the program;
  2. Manage the Program’s budget, in co-operation with the Finance Department and others in the program, to ensure adequate and timely oversight of resources and ensure that resources are allocated to maximize impact;
  3. Establish clear work plans for staff and communicate priorities clearly and effectively and provide oversight and take responsibility for delegated assignments;
  4. Ensure that the workload of staff is manageable and the reporting lines are clear;
  5. Provide appropriate and timely feedback on staff performance and leadership on employee relations through effective communication, conflict mediation, guidance, coaching, and training, including with staff in supervisory positions;
  6. Operate in compliance with organizational regulations and rules, including the policies of applicable employee agreements; and
  7. Ensure the security 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 offices under direct program supervision.


Education: An advanced (graduate) degree in human rights, environmental science, public health, international affairs or a relevant field is required. 

Experience: A minimum of 10 years of extensive, varied experience in environment and human rights work or comparable work including investigations, reporting, and advocacy, with at least five years in a management position is required. 

Related Skills and Knowledge:

  1. Extensive knowledge of environment and human rights is required.
  2. Demonstrated ability to think strategically and advocate effectively is required.
  3. Track record of dealing with the media and cultivating relationships with journalists is required; experience with multimedia and social media is desirable.
  4. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English are required; proficiency in another language is highly desirable.
  5. Ability to defend and explain complex issues and positions to governments and intergovernmental bodies at the highest level is required.
  6. Strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively within HRW as well as with local partners, government officials and external media partners are required.
  7. Recognized management experience is required, including supervising a team of talented professionals in multiple global locations.
  8. Capacity to appropriately plan and prioritize and to manage multiple, sometimes competing demands efficiently in a challenging, fast-paced environment is required.
  9. Relevant international field experience and familiarity with human rights research methodologies are desirable; knowledge of innovative or new methodologies on the environment and human rights is desirable.

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. 

How to Apply: Please apply immediately or by 11:59 PM ET on October 7, 2016 by visiting our online job portal at No phone 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 [email protected] Due to the large response, application submissions via email will not be accepted and inquiries regarding the status of applications will go unanswered.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and, in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

About Human Rights Watch

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.