Human Rights Watch Job Vacancy: Advocacy Director - Washington, D.C., USA

Advocacy Director

The US Program of Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking an Advocacy Director to be its chief advocate and strategist with policymakers and other relevant actors in Washington, DC.

The Advocacy Director will be part of a dynamic team in the US Program, which is dedicated to protecting and promoting the fundamental rights and dignity of every person subject to the authority of the US government. We investigate and expose systemic human rights abuses committed by the US federal, state, and local governments, particularly in three areas: criminal justice, immigration, and national security. We prioritize issues affecting vulnerable populations, especially those that are likely to have difficulty vindicating their rights through the political process or in the courts, such as the poor, racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, prisoners, immigrants, and children.

The Advocacy Director should be a creative and strategic thinker with substantive experience advocating on domestic issues in the United States. The Advocacy Director will communicate with colleagues about developments in Washington, provide strategic advice about how to effectively frame HRW’s research and recommendations, and represent the organization on domestic policy, including in the media. This position is based in Washington, DC and reports to the Co-Director of the US Program.


  • Build working relationships with policymakers and other relevant actors in Washington, DC, to generate support for human rights-respecting US domestic policies;
  • Develop and implement advocacy strategies in consultation with colleagues on a range of domestic issues, including immigration, criminal justice, national security, surveillance, racial justice, drug policy, all forms of discrimination, and other issues as needed due to a changing external environment and organizational priorities;
  • Work with colleagues to analyze federal policies in the areas of immigration, criminal justice, and national security, among others;
  • Engage and collaborate with the broader policy and advocacy communities to develop a rich and detailed understanding of developments relevant to human rights;
  • Present the research and recommendations of the US program in public fora and speak on behalf of the US program to the media and general public;
  • Meet regularly and develop strong working relationships with government officials, policymakers, representatives of international institutions, and other important actors;
  • Prepare a range of written materials, including policy analyses and advocacy documents targeting officials and the public;
  • Influence policy debates by writing press releases, op-eds, and blog postings, and using social media;
  • Work with other rights organizations including through coalitions and unlikely allies and develop contacts with journalists in a variety of media;
  • Keep abreast of pertinent legislative and policy developments and advise colleagues of important changes;
  • Perform other tasks as required.
Education: An advanced (graduate) degree in international relations, journalism, law, social science, or related studies is required. This requirement may be waived in lieu of additional years of experience. 

Experience: A minimum of seven years of relevant experience in nongovernmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, or governments working to influence domestic US policies relevant to human rights issues is required.

Related Skills and Knowledge:

  • Senior-level advocacy experience and experience designing and implementing successful advocacy initiatives.
  • Extensive knowledge of domestic human rights issues in the US, ideally related to immigration, criminal justice, national security, surveillance, or drug policy.
  • Ability to defend and persuasively explain complex issues and positions to intergovernmental bodies as well as staff, including senior officials.
  • A track record of dealing with the media and cultivating relationships with unlikely allies and journalists.
  • Demonstrated ability to think creatively and strategically.
  • Ability to communicate well orally and in writing in English; proficiency in another language is highly desirable.
  • Experience working with a wide variety of diverse populations in the United States.
  • Demonstrated commitment to human rights.
  • Strong interpersonal skills to work collaboratively and as part of a team and with external partners.
  • Ability to multi-task effectively, including having strong planning and organizing skills and the ability to work well under pressure.
Salary and Benefits: HRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits. HRW offers a relocation assistance package 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 January 15, 2017. 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 Due to the large response, application submissions via email will not be accepted and INQUIRIES regarding the status of applications will go unanswered