Friday, May 09, 2008

Senior Human Rights Officer

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
United Nations
Location: Somalia (Nairobi, Kenya (relocation to Somalia may be possible during the assignment )
Closing date: 01 Jun 2008
Job Description

Following the Security Council Resolution 1801 (2008), the Secretary-General’s report (A/62/512/Add.6) and the Human Rights Council resolution on the strengthening of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) to fulfill its mandate, the Human Rights Unit will play an active role in ensuring human rights integration in the reforms as envisaged for the conflict resolution and institutional building in Somalia aimed at the completion of the transitional process.


Under the overall supervision of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in Somalia, and the substantive support and guidance of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the incumbent will perform the following main functions as Head of the Human Rights component:
Advisory and representative role
- Act as the Senior Human Rights Advisor to the SRSG and report, through the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) on human rights issues that are relevant to UNPOS-UN mandate;
- Act as the Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the mission area, and report to the High Commissioner in Geneva on issues related to human rights and capacity building activities;
- Represent the OHCHR at interagency meetings at country level and develop a human rights strategy and activities for Somalia in close consultation with the UNCT, in the framework of the Transitional Federal Charter and the UN Transitional Plan (UNTP) , with a view to ensure that human rights issues and perspectives are fully integrated into political, humanitarian and economic efforts and programmes;
- Liaise with the Somali Transitional Institutions in order to ensure human rights mainstreaming in to the new Draft Constitution, legal and judicial reform, police and security services reform, land reform and electoral code amongst others;
- Participate in Senior Management Team meetings and provide them with information on the Human Rights Unit’s activities and advise on any measures necessary or desirable for other Units of the Mission to better protect and promote human rights in the mission area;
- Advise stakeholders on the integration of human rights into potential future peace accords and a possible integrated mission planning.
- Promote the ratification and implementation of international human rights instruments;
- Ensure the provision of technical support to transitional institutions and human rights organizations to strengthen their capacity keeping in mind a gender perspective in particular in the following areas: the judiciary, conflict resolution and national reconciliation, situation of women, youth and children;

Substantive coordination
- Assist the Transitional Federal Government and the diplomatic community having decision-making authority in the advocacy efforts and human rights compliance, including through the provision of regular updates on trends on human rights situation and the identification of means to strengthening the capacity of authorities and civil society through training and sensitization in international human rights standards;
- Maintain close liaison with UN counterparts in neighbouring countries, particularly in the Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, with regard to developments that can affect the observance of international human rights in the mission area;
- Ensure that, in coordination with United Nations agencies and other components of the Mission, Human Rights with special emphasis on SGBV and child protection aspects are included in the training programs for the Transitional Federal Government staff and the security forces;
- Ensure that the Unit collects, consolidates and analyses information received from staff/offices from across the Mission, including by coordinating the effective set-up and functioning of a human rights database; the set-up of quality control mechanisms and the timely entry of data in that system;
- Ensure the issuance of public reports in consultation with the SRSG and the High Commissioner for Human Rights and her Office;
- Maintain close liaison with OHCHR-HQ, including with geographical desk officers, and ensure timely communications on the human rights and justice situation;
- Explore and launch consultations with the Transitional Federal Government, Civil Society and all stakeholders the relevant measures for the establishment of a National Human Rights Institution, under the guidance of the SRSG and the UNHCHR;
- In close collaboration with relevant units in OHCHR Headquarters, identify and contribute to the development and implementation of best practices, particularly those relating to promotion of a rights based approach to planning and programming, coordination mechanisms, and inter-agency cooperation;
Leadership and management
Develop and monitor the implementation of the management plan for the Human Rights Unit and be responsible for the achievement of the objectives contained therein;
- Manage and provide substantive leadership to the Human Rights Unit and related UN human rights staff;
- Undertake the programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Human Rights Unit, including preparation of budgets, reporting on budget/programme performance, evaluation of staff performance, interviewing of candidates for job openings, and preparation of inputs for results-based budgeting exercises;
- Responsible for the management and implementation of OHCHR funded projects in Somalia;
- Perform other duties as required by the Representative of the Secretary-General and OHCHR.


Professionalism – Comprehensive knowledge of and exposure to a range of human rights issues, including in the areas of rule of law and security institutions. Very good knowledge of institutional mandates, policies and guidelines related to human rights including the rules governing their protection and the mechanisms available in case of their violation, in particular with regards to sexual and gender-based violence and child protection. Very good knowledge of the region, including the political environment and legal statutes as they pertain to human rights. Ability to work and act under pressure in a politically and psychologically difficult environment, with a minimum of comfort and in dangerous security conditions. Sound political judgment, impartiality, diplomacy and discretion;
Leadership - Proven negotiating and managerial skills; strong ability to take initiatives and to demonstrate autonomy, excellent leadership skills and ability to motivate a multicultural diverse team;
Technological Awareness – Good computer skills and ability to use relevant software applications, in particular information databases, internet services, library sources etc.
Communication – Strong interpersonal and communication skills. Excellent analytical and writing skills.
Teamwork – Ability to establish and maintain effective working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds with respect for diversity.


Advanced University Degree (Masters or equivalent), preferably in law, political science, international relations or other disciplines related to human rights. A first level university degree with a relevant combination of academic qualifications and experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience
At least 10 years of progressively responsible experience in field and headquarters locations at national and international levels in the field of human rights, with at least 3 years supervisory, management and leadership experience; Proven experience in public speaking and representation at a high level.

Fluency in oral and written English is required. Knowledge of Somali and Arabic will be an asset.

Other Skills
Previous experience in UN peace missions is highly desirable.
Vacancies Contact
All applicants are requested to email the following documents to :
1) a completed United Nations Personal History form (PHP) or P-11, in PDF or Word (Please note that applications without P11 or PHP cannot be considered);
2) a covering letter as attached document;
3) UN staff members must submit scanned copies of their latest Performance Appraisal System (PAS).
Important :
- Please note that you need to mention the reference number of the vacancy announcement in the subject header of your email: VA 08/OHCHR/052/UNPOS
- Name any attached documents as follows: LAST NAME First name – Type of document.doc
example: SMITH Jacqueline – PHP.pdf
or: SMITH Jacqueline – PAS.doc
or: SMITH Jacqueline - Cover letter.doc , etc.

Reference Code: RW_7EFLXW-73

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