Human Rights Watch, Iraq

Skill Required:, Media and CommunicationResearch and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
3 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
5th July, 2021

Job Description

The Middle East and North Africa (“MENA”) Division of Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking applicants for the position of Iraq Researcher. The Researcher will be responsible for developing and implementing a research and advocacy strategy on Iraq, and possibly an additional MENA country. The researcher preferably will be based in one of HRW’s offices (Amman, Tunis, London, Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, New York, or Washington DC), but other locations will be considered. The candidate should expect to spend extensive periods of time in Iraq once travel is permitted. The Iraq Researcher reports to the Deputy Middle East and North Africa director.

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 initially or if local requirements mandate it. 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.


  • Research, monitor, and document human rights abuses by collecting and analyzing information from a wide variety of sources including governments, local media, NGOs, victims, witnesses, journalists, diplomats, security forces, and others in the field;
  • Conduct fact-finding missions in Iraq and other MENA countries, as needed and if security permits;
  • Write and publicize reports, briefing papers, letters, news releases, op-eds, and submissions to international bodies based on research findings;
  • Develop and implement local, regional, and international strategies to change abusive laws, policies, and practices, in coordination with Iraqi civil society;
  • Present human rights and humanitarian law issues and concerns to government officials, armed groups (to the extent possible), key players in Iraq, opinion leaders, inter-governmental agencies, and the media to promote civilian protection and human rights reforms;
  • Work closely with local and regional human rights and humanitarian organizations to ensure that the work of HRW regarding Iraq complements and enhances their own work;
  • Respond promptly to queries from the media, public, and colleagues in the human rights community and take initiative to project concerns in public debate;
  • Liaise effectively with relevant HRW staff located in multiple locations throughout the world to ensure effective coordination and delivery of activities;
  • Travel domestically and internationally, as required, in order to carry out research and advocacy;
  • Supervise a research assistant’s work, security, and personal and professional development, and manage coordination with other HRW staff supporting human rights research and advocacy work on Iraq.
  • Perform other duties as required.


  • Education: An advanced (graduate) degree in international relations, journalism, law, history or social sciences, or equivalent work experience, is required.
  • Experience: A minimum of three years of experience working on human rights issues or humanitarian law, ideally in the Middle East and/or North Africa, is required.

Required Skills and Knowledge:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English; Arabic language skills strongly preferred and Kurdish language skills desirable.
  • Ability to identify, research, analyze, and effectively communicate important human rights developments in Iraq.
  • Ability and sensitivity to conduct interviews with a wide range of people, including victims and witnesses.
  • Ability to identify and advise on strategies to conduct research and advocacy.
  • Ability to produce high-quality written material under tight deadlines.
  • Strong initiative and follow-through, capacity to think creatively and strategically, excellent editing skills, and dynamic public speaking skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively within HRW, as well as with external partners.
  • Demonstrated awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations.
  • Strong management skills, including managing more junior research staff working on Iraq research and managing coordination of colleagues supporting Iraq research and advocacy. Management skills should also include incorporating stress and resilience techniques into your own work activities and those colleagues under researcher’s supervision.
  • Ability to multi-task effectively, including having strong planning and organizing skills, and ability to work under pressure.
  • Ability to think strategically about the global and local media environments and how to use the media and electronic media to further goals.
  • Ability to work flexible hours to accommodate developing and urgent situations.
  • Ability to carry out security assessments and analysis in order to inform Human Rights Watch research opportunities
  • Knowledge of and experience working in international human rights and familiarity with international humanitarian law.


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