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Adviser and Head, Human Rights Unit

Location: Pall Mall, London SW1
Closing date: 4 December 2020

£88,447 p.a. + benefits

The Commonwealth Secretariat seeks to appoint an Adviser and Head, Human Rights Unit in our Governance and Peace (GPD) Directorate. The Human Rights Unit (HRU) supports Commonwealth member states by strengthening their national capacity to promote and protect the human rights of their citizens in accordance with international law and standards as well as the Commonwealth Charter. The HRU’s mandate and annual work-plan is derived from the Commonwealth Secretariat’s four-year Strategic Plan as well as decisions taken by Commonwealth Heads of Government

The Head of HRU works with representatives of Commonwealth member governments, national human rights institutions and other national institutions to advance the effective and sustainable promotion and protection of human rights and Commonwealth values as outlined in the Commonwealth Charter. The Head of HRU leads in the design, development and delivery of capacity-building and advocacy initiatives which meet the requirements of member states and which reflect the Commonwealth Secretariat’s ‘trusted partner’ approach. The Head of HRU is also the Secretariat’s lead adviser on human rights matters, and represents and advocates for shared Commonwealth perspectives internationally as required including in the UN human rights system and with other international and intergovernmental organisations. The Head of HRU is also responsible for building and maintaining relationships with relevant Commonwealth accredited organisations to promote the advancement of human rights in the Commonwealth.  

Responsibilities of the Adviser and Head, Human Rights Unit includes (but is not limited to):

  • Leading the Unit and being accountable for the effective management of the Unit’s staff and the delivery of their work, including planning and resource allocation;
  • Devises and oversees delivery of capacity-building programmes to advance human rights as well as Commonwealth values and principles, and to assist member states in the effective and sustainable implementation of international human rights obligations;
  • Supporting high level meetings of member governments including through attendance and presentations, and overseeing provision of relevant human rights related material;
  • Providing expert advice to the Secretary-General and other Secretariat senior management on key human rights developments of relevance and priority to the Commonwealth;
  • Acting as the principal point of contact with accredited Commonwealth organisations as well as other interested parties that are engaged on human rights issues, promoting liaison and information exchange;
  • Adheres to the Gender Equality values of the Commonwealth as enshrined in the Charter and Secretariat’s Gender Equality Policy; and
  • Undertakes other relevant duties that may be assigned by the Secretary-General and the Senior Director of Governance and Peace.

Please refer to the Job Description for full details of the responsibilities of this position. 

To be considered, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Attained a post-graduate qualification in law, human rights, social sciences, international relations or other relevant area;
  • At least ten years’ experience in working/teaching in the human rights field including experience of applying international human rights law; development and implementation of human rights policy; and, protecting and promoting human rights;
  • Employment and successful results in the human rights field at a senior level in a governmental, academic or intergovernmental context;
  • Conversant with the four immediate outcomes of the Commonwealth’s human rights programme;
  • Experience in research, publishing, and managing grants;
  • Leadership and management of a multi-cultural team of professionals; and
  • Post-doctoral experience in a relevant human rights related area.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 member governments and provides guidance on policy making, technical assistance and advisory services to Commonwealth member countries.  We support governments to help achieve sustainable, inclusive and equitable development.

To join us, you must be a citizen of a Commonwealth country.

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