Fortify Rights Job Vacancy: Human Rights Specialist - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Position: Malaysia Human Rights Specialist
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Contract: 1 year, renewable
Start Date: As soon as possible
Compensation: Competitive with benefits

Fortify Rights works to ensure and defend human rights for all. We investigate human rights abuses, engage stakeholders, and strengthen initiatives led by human rights defenders, affected communities, and civil society. We believe in the influence of evidence-based research, the power of strategic truth telling, and the importance of working in close collaboration with individuals, communities, and movements pushing for change. Fortify Rights is an independent, nonprofit organization based in Southeast Asia and registered in the United States and Switzerland.

The Malaysia Human Rights Specialist works closely with Fortify Rights’ Human Rights Specialists and in collaboration with the Regional Director and executive leadership to implement Fortify Rights’ mandate to ensure and defend human rights for all. S/he conducts independent human rights research and documentation, engages with decision-makers and relevant stakeholders, and works collaboratively with human rights defenders and affected communities to strengthen and support local initiatives. S/he leads the strategic direction of Fortify Rights’ work in Malaysia and works closely with the Regional Director, executive leadership, and Development Specialist to develop projects in line with the organizational mandate. The Malaysia Human Rights Specialist monitors human rights developments in Malaysia and serves as a focal point for representing the organization and providing credible information on the human rights situation in the country. S/he develops positive working relationships with human rights defenders and affected communities in Malaysia and provides tailored, ongoing technical support, including trainings and workshops, to strengthen the work of partner organizations. The Malaysia Human Specialist reports to the Regional Director and receives strategic direction and technical oversight from the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer.

  • In collaboration with the executive leadership, Regional Director, Human Rights Specialists, Multimedia Specialist, and the Development Specialist, develop a concrete and coherent country strategy aimed at ensuring and defending human rights for all through independent research and documentation, multi-level stakeholder engagement, and customized technical support to human rights defenders.
  • Identify and investigate priority human rights issues through interviews, focus group discussions, site visits, document collection, secondary research, and other forms of both qualitative and quantitative evidence collection in line with best practices.
  • Analyze and document human rights violations through written material and audio/visual mediums—in collaboration with the Multimedia Specialist—for both public and private distribution. Provide sound analysis of research findings within the framework of international human rights and humanitarian law along with concrete recommendations to address specific violations.
  • Monitor human rights practices in Malaysia and serve as a credible, reliable source of human rights information in Malaysia, both internally and externally.
  • Draft and edit original written material, including internal or private memorandums, letters to governments or other stakeholders, press releases, long-form reports, submissions to the United Nations or other international bodies, op-eds, articles, and/or blogs, in a timely manner.
  • Conduct strategic advocacy with government officials, elected representatives, members of the diplomatic community, representatives of U.N. and other international agencies, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and other key decision-makers, influencers, and stakeholders with a view towards addressing human rights concerns and improving the human rights situation in Malaysia.
  • Represent the organization on human rights issues in Malaysia. Engage regularly with local and mainstream news media outlets, including online, print, television, radio, and other platforms. Respond in a timely and professional manner to requests for comments, interviews, and assistance from members of the media.
  • Develop positive and supportive relationships with human rights defenders, organizations, and affected communities in Malaysia. Identify key partners to work with on a sustained basis to strengthen local responses to human rights abuses.
  • Work with partners to identify objectives and develop strategies, reinforce strengths, and address weaknesses. Develop and conduct tailored trainings or participatory workshops, assist with research and documentation efforts, and implement other tasks to respond to the needs identified by partners.
  • Work closely with the Development Specialist and executive leadership to contribute to fundraising and monitoring and evaluation processes. Contribute to timely reporting through regular monitoring and reporting on project activities and support the Development Specialist in tracking and gathering data to evaluate the progress of projects.
  • Work closely in collaboration with the Fortify Rights team, including the Regional Director, Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer, Development Specialist, Multimedia Specialist, and other Human Rights Specialists, to ensure effectiveness, scale the organization’s impact, and ensure sustainability.
  • Perform other tasks as requested.
  • Post-graduate degree in relevant fields or comparable work experience. At least five years of experience in human rights research, documentation, strategic advocacy, and engagement. Participatory training experience preferred.
  • Excellent knowledge on the human rights situation in Malaysia. Experience researching and analyzing complex human rights issues in Malaysia. Demonstrated ability to produce high quality written material in a timely manner.
  • Solid understanding of human rights and humanitarian law, and ability to apply human rights and humanitarian law frameworks to documented situations of abuse.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills. Ability to effectively communicate with a wide range of people, including survivors and witnesses of abuse, media, government and high-ranking officials, U.N. and non-governmental organization representatives, and others. Ability to represent the organization both publicly and privately, particularly on human rights issues in Malaysia.
  • Excellent public-speaking skills and ability to engage local and mainstream media outlets on human rights issues in Malaysia.
  • Experience working collaboratively and effectively with human rights defenders and affected communities. Ability to develop and facilitate participatory trainings and workshops and provide ongoing technical support to human rights defenders and partner organizations.
  • Strong decision-making and ability to turn the organization’s priorities into impactful strategies.
  • Excellent writing, organizational, and time management skills. Ability to work independently and as part of a flexibly structured team. A willingness to learn and contribute to a positive team environment. A desire to implement innovation and creative solutions to complex problems.
  • Willingness to travel within Southeast Asia. This may include travel to remote and potentially insecure areas.
  • Fluency in written and oral English required. Additional language skills preferred.
  • To be discussed with short-listed candidates.
  • Fortify Rights seeks exceptional applicants and offers a competitive compensation and benefits package.
Fortify Rights is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and, in order to build the strongest possible team, actively seeks a diverse pool of applicants.

Please apply by emailing your resume and cover letter to with the subject line: “MALAYSIA HUMAN RIGHTS SPECIALIST ”

We may shortlist before the closing date advertised due to the urgency of the recruitment.

Note: Malaysia candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.