Research Assistant, Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

  • Full Time
  • Temporary
  • see post
  • Applications have closed

Website Human Rights Watch

Research Assistant, Women’s Rights in Afghanistan
Women’s Rights Division
Multiple Locations Considered
Application Deadline: September 15, 2021

The Women’s Right Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW) is seeking a Research Assistant to provide short-term support for its work on the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. The Research Assistant will make key contributions to urgent research and advocacy by HRW on the evolving situation regarding the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. This is a fixed-term position for six (6) months with the possibility of extension. The location is flexible, but time zones closer to Afghanistan will be preferred. It reports to the Associate Director of the Women’s Rights Division, who is located in Pakistan.

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 until offices fully re-open. 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.


1. Provide research and advocacy assistance and administrative support to colleagues within the Women’s Rights Division;

2. Develop contacts with activists, experts, officials and other local actors, including using pre-existing networks among local rights activists and organizations to expand HRW’s monitoring capabilities and access to information; facilitate meetings with NGOs, officials, and individuals able to provide information regarding human rights abuses;

3. Assist colleagues in monitoring human rights conditions and documenting abuses by collecting and analyzing information from a wide variety of sources including governments, local media, NGOs, victims, witnesses, journalists, and online sources; advise the Associate Director on local media advocacy;

4. Assist the Associate Director in following up on specific cases of human rights violations, including prison visits and interviews with family members; assist in follow-up with authorities and with local UN representatives on strategic cases on which HRW is advocating for justice;

5. Under the guidance of the Associate Director, provide written analyses and write-ups of interviews, and, when appropriate, first drafts of briefing papers, letters, news releases, submissions to international bodies, etc.;

6. Assist the Associate Director in preparing reports for discussion with governmental officials, NGO, IGO and other external partners;

7. The person in this role may take on some tasks as a spokesperson for HRW on the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan, subject to security and training considerations;

8. Be a full partner with the Women’s Rights Division colleagues in managing local logistical issues, such as finding local contacts and consultant as well as drivers, fixers, and translators as relevant;

9. Advise the Women’s Rights Division on security issues, particularly in regard to the safety of sources, ethical research methodologies, and feasibility of field missions, including by developing contacts who can provide timely and trustworthy advice on security conditions and precautions;

10. As appropriate, translate documents from English to local languages and from local languages to English and interpret for the Associate Director during meetings and interviews held in local languages;

11. Proofread translations of documents by other translators, for ensuring that all HRW documents in local languages are polished, accurate, and up to HRW standards;

12. Potentially, security permitting, travel to the field, including to insecure areas, with colleagues and independently, to conduct research; travel internationally as appropriate to attend specific trainings or planning sessions;

13. Operate in compliance with organizational regulations and rules, including the policies of applicable employee agreements; and

14. Perform other tasks, as may be required.


Education: A bachelor’s degree in international relations, law, journalism, social sciences or studies relating to the country relevant to the function is desirable but not required.

Experience: A minimum of one (1) year of experience working in a similar role, conducting or assisting in field research, is required. Individuals with personal experience on the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan are highly encouraged to apply.

Related Skills and Knowledge:

1. A deep knowledge and expertise regarding the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan with a strong network of contacts on this topic is required.

2. Excellent oral and written communication skills in Dari and English are required; fluency in Pashto is strongly preferred.

3. Ability to multi-task effectively, including having good planning and organizing skills and ability to work under pressure are required.

4. Strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively within HRW as well as with external partners are required.

5. Self-motivation and the ability to take initiative, think creatively and problem-solve, and prioritize with minimal supervision are required.

6. Good judgment, discretion and the ability to maintain confidentiality and exercise good judgement on security issues are required.

7. Experience working for an international human rights organization is highly desirable.

How to Apply: Please apply immediately or by September 15, 2021 by visiting our online job portal at https://www.hrw.org/careers and attach a cover letter and resume, which includes a description of your language skills in Dari and Pashto. No calls or email inquiries, please. Only complete applications will be reviewed and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

We understand some candidates may be personally affected by the recent events in Afghanistan. If you have difficulty completing your application submission, please reach out with a brief description to [email protected]

Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. We actively seek a diverse applicant pool and encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply. Human Rights Watch does not discriminate on the basis of disability, age, gender identity and expression, national origin, race and ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or criminal record. We welcome all kinds of diversity. Our employees include people who are parents and nonparents, the self-taught and university educated, and from a wide span of socio-economic backgrounds and perspectives on the world. Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer.

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.

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