Organization of American States Seeks Human Rights Specialist

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • The Human Rights Specialist will work as part of the team which supports the work of the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  In this capacity, he or she will work under the general supervision of the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), either directly or through the corresponding Specialist.  In this sense, the Human Rights Specialist will be responsible for the following duties:

1. Case processing and reporting

  • Contribute to the implementation of the individual petition system governed by the inter-American human rights instruments, preparing specialized opinions regarding complaints received against Member States at the study, admissibility, and merits stages.   Prepare specialized opinions related to requests for precautionary measures.
  • Draft case reports setting forth specialized analysis, conclusions and recommendations for Commission consideration.
  • Advice on the presentation of contentious cases and requests for advisory opinions before the Inter-American Court.
  • Prepare background documentation for case and thematic hearings and working meetings.
  • Prepare requests for information for States on priority human rights issues.
  • Advise petitioners and state representatives on the application of petition procedures and other matters related to human rights. Provide technical advisory services for other organs or agencies of the Organization, in relation to drafting and implementation of juridical international instruments in the field of human rights.

2. Research and monitoring:

  • Conduct legal research pertinent to specific cases and human rights issues;
  • Engage in fact finding on numerous situations and cases, and draft reports or sections of reports for review by senior staff.
  • Organize, coordinate, and participate in on-site visits conducted by the Commission and the Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: develop draft program of activities; manage logistical arrangements; facilitate meetings between Commission members and Government officials, representatives of local non-governmental organizations and other groups, such as alleged victims and their relatives, draft reports and recommendations for publication pending Commission approval.
  • Monitor the overall situation of human rights of indigenous peoples in the Americas by contacting and maintaining sources, collecting and reviewing information, coordinating general hearings before the Commission, and consulting with the Commission Rapporteur.
  • Prepare special reports on the situation of human rights of indigenous peoples and on selected human rights issues. This requires gathering and evaluating data from a wide range of sources, legal research and analysis, editing and translating documents , and the drafting of reports for publication, pursuant to Commission approval.

3. Other

  • Organize logistically and substantively promotional activities such as seminars and conferences on human rights issues.
  • Perform other related duties as assigned, including replacing and backstopping for others.


1. Education & Experience:

  • Essential: Juris Doctor or First University Degree (Bachelor’s) issued by a duly accredited institution in law, international public law or human rights and 4 years of relevant experience at the national and/or international level OR Advanced University Degree (Master’s) issued by a duly accredited institution in one of the fields listed above and 2 years of relevant experience. Knowledge of the principles and theories of international public law, human rights law, and the rights of indigenous peoples.  Technical and field experience working with indigenous peoples throughout the Americas.
  • Desirable: Experience or knowledge of the OAS mandates and priorities as related to the area of work and/or the dynamics of the Inter-American agenda and system.  Experience working in international and/or regional organizations.

2. Computer Skills:

Ability to effectively work using Microsoft Office (e.g. Outlook, Word, and Excel), and other software applicable to the area of work.

3. Languages:

  • Essential – Proficient in English and Spanish (read, write and communicate).
  • Desirable – Working knowledge of French and/or Portuguese.
  • Personal Competencies: Client Orientation, Knowledge Sharing, Teamwork, Interpersonal Skills. Ability to clearly communicate in the languages required for the post.

4. Other requirements:

  • Candidates are required to submit an essay in English and/or Spanish including critical analysis of a recent decision of the Inter-American Commission or Court related to the rights of indigenous peoples (5 pages). This document should not be a version edited by third parties.
  • Broad knowledge of International Law of Human Rights and domestic law of OAS member countries. Knowledge of the international mechanisms of protection of human rights, particularly those applicable to the rights of indigenous peoples.
  • Ability to research legal issues and work in the preparation of reports and recommendations.
  • Ability to travel.

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