VACANCY: Country Researcher

In وظائف by CIHRS

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)


JOB TITLE:  Country Researcher

PROGRAM:  Arab Regional Advocacy Program (ARAP)

LOCATION:  MENA Region / subject to negotiation

DURATION:  1 year, with possibility of renewal

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) is seeking well-qualified applicants for the position of the Head of MENA Unit of the Arab Regional Advocacy Program (ARAP).

This position reports to the Head of Research Unit of ARAP

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS):  The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) is an independent regional non-governmental organization founded in 1994. It aims at promoting respect for the principles of human rights and democracy, analyzing the difficulties facing the application of International Human Rights Law and disseminating Human Rights Culture in the Arab Region as well as engaging in dialogue between cultures. A key part of CIHRS’ mandate is to help shape the understanding of the most pressing human rights issues within the region and then to coordinate and mobilize the key players and NGOs from across the Arab world to work together towards solutions. CIHRS enjoys consultative status in the United Nations ECOSOC, and observer status in the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). CIHRS is also a member of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). CIHRS currently has offices in Cairo, Egypt; Tunis, Tunisia and Geneva, Switzerland.

CIHRS was awarded the French Republic Award for Human Rights in December 2007.  

The Arab Regional Advocacy Program (ARAP):  The ARAP is a regional program that is designed to increase the ability of national and regional human rights actors to achieve positive change by enhancing their campaigning tactics, with a specific emphasis on creating synergy between national, regional and international advocacy and influence.  This is achieved through a partner based process that involves research, capacity-building, network creation and joint advocacy initiatives.  To achieve this the ARAP is currently expanding its country presences in the Arab region and at international forums, and regularly engages with partners at international human rights mechanisms and other international advocacy targets, including the United Nations, African Union, European Union, League of Arab States, other multilateral forums, as well as in strategic capitals in the Arab region and around the world.

The mission of the ARAP is to Identify, protect and empower human rights actors to strengthen the human rights movement in the Arab region in order to defend and expand the public sphere, with a particular focus on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.

JOB PURPOSE:  As a researcher at the research unit of the ARAP you will be member of a team of country and thematic officers located in multiple countries throughout the Arab region, and international staff that work at international organizations and in capitals throughout the world.  As a member of the ARAP team you will be at the forefront of efforts to strengthen, empower and protect the Arab regional human rights movement at a critical juncture in its history.

As a country researcher you will be responsible for putting in place a country strategy that combines research, capacity building, network building and advocacy initiatives in order to achieve the realization of the ARAP mission within your target country.  In particular, you will be required to:

  • Identify and Reveal:
    • Identify  critical actors within the human rights and pro-democracy movement in target country
    • Identify and reveal the main challenges and threats to these actors and  democratic freedoms in target country
    • Identify main opportunities and methods to strengthen work of these actors and expand democratic freedoms, with a particular focus on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of association
  • Protect:
    • Protect  human rights defenders and organizations from  attacks and repression
    • Protect human rights actors and democratic freedoms from repressive policies and laws
  • Empower:
    • Empower local actors  to carry out more effective human rights campaigning through:
      • Capacity building to ensure effective advocacy and engagement at multiple leverage points on multiple levels (national, regional and international)
      • Building and expanding networks and allies on national, regional and international level to achieve reform in target country
      • Increasing visibility of  actors and their work
      • Increase cooperation and build networks  among human rights actors in target country, and mobilize national network of partners around strategic priorities of ARAP and country-specific  priorities
      • Integrating and combining  national level priorities, research and campaigns into regional and international advocacy initiatives of the ARAP
  • Integrating international and regional tools and advocacy victories into national level campaigns and partner tactics, including building national level campaigns and activities around  international and regional advocacy tools and outcomes


Post description and tasks:

CIHRS’ country researcher will the following aims:

1)  Maintain a thorough understanding of the state of human rights in the assigned country.  This knowledge will be used to define research and advocacy focuses, as well as for producing the chapter of CIHRS’ annual report on assigned country.

2)  Respond to urgent needs in the country, particularly through advocacy in conjunction with the rest of the ARAP team.

3)  Carry out campaigns around defined rights issues of focus.

4) Carry out capacity-building and networking activities for partners in country.

In order to fulfil these aims, the country researcher will have to carry out the following tasks:

General tasks

  • Conduct a mapping of actors working on various human rights issues in assigned country, with specific focus on civil and political rights.
  • Collaborate with local partners to identify areas of focus and carry out advocacy campaigns and capacity building activities.
  • Meet regularly with relevant ARAP and CIHRS staff to establish research, capacity building and advocacy priorities for target country, and continue to discuss and revise these priorities as needed.  This will be based on CIHRS’ and ARAP’s mission, priorities and areas of expertise, information about most pressing issues, and an evaluation of what issues lack attention by other human rights actors or require increased attention.
  • Determine with relevant ARAP staff how to address emerging issues which demand ARAP’s immediate attention or a long-term change of research priorities on assigned country.
  • Assist with other tasks as necessary.

Research tasks

  • Conduct on-going research to develop an in-depth understanding of the state of human rights in the country, and provide other ARAP members with up-to-date information about human rights and other related developments, with a particular focus on freedom of expression, assembly and association.
  • Continually monitor the work of partner organizations, government sources, and media regarding both target issues and the general state of human rights in assigned country.
  • Conduct first-hand research as necessitated by gaps in available information on identified target issues.
  • Monitor the developments of specific cases, such as particular instances of rights violations, new legislation, etc. which are relevant to target issues.
  • Use research to identify established and emerging trends related to the state of human rights in assigned country.
  • Compile research material to report on identified rights issues through press statements, reports, or other documents for publication on a regular basis and as necessary based on developments in assigned country.
  • Compile information throughout the year for the annual report chapter specific to assigned country, submitting drafts of the chapter periodically throughout the year for review.
  • Complete research papers as agree upon in the Country Strategy
  • Conduct thorough fact-checking, maintain careful documentation of sources of all research information.

Advocacy tasks

  • Advise ARAP and CIHRS staff on potential points of focus for advocacy and provide them with researched information on target issues to be used for advocacy purposes.
  • Prepare advocacy documents based on research, including press statements, written / oral interventions, talking points for meetings or presentations, etc.
  • Attend and participate in advocacy initiatives on national, regional, and/or international levels, as appropriate.
  • Prepare for and perform advocacy on target issues in conjunction with relevant members of ARAP team.
  • Integrating and combining  national level priorities, research and campaigns into regional and international advocacy initiatives of the ARAP
  • Integrating international and regional tools and advocacy victories into national level campaigns and partner tactics, including building national level campaigns and activities around  international and regional advocacy tools and outcomes

Networking and capacity-building tasks

  • Assess the state of civil society in the country, their areas of focus and priority, the quality of their work, and their strengths and weaknesses, with particular focus on actors working in area of civil and political rights and democratic freedoms
  • Meet/maintain contact with partners working on assigned country on a regular basis to remain up-to-date on their work and to maintain strong organizational relationships.
  • Expand CIHRS’ network of partners working on assigned country.
  • Help to mobilize / coordinate coalitions of partners to carry out campaigns around identified rights issues at national level.
  • Pursue research and advocacy projects together with partners, including through helping them to engage in new forms of analysis and advocacy (e.g. legislative review, submissions to international rights bodies), building their capacity in the process.
  • Identify potential areas for capacity-building of partners.
  • Identify local partners to participate in advocacy opportunities, trainings, conferences, etc.
  • In conjunction with other ARAP members, organize and carry out capacity-building exercises and trainings, including trainings on how to use the international and regional human rights mechanisms.
  • Assist in the planning and execution of trainings, conferences, or other events as needed.

Skills and experience

  • A minimum of 3 years experience working in the field of human rights or civil society organizations;
  • A university degree in relevant subjects (e.g. Law, Human Rights, Political Science, International Relations, etc.). Masters Degree preferable; an academic background in human rights is an asset;
  • Proficiency in Arabic and English,( French is an asset )working knowledge of French will be an asset;
  • Strong interpersonal and social skills, with ability to make and sustain partnerships and allies;
  • Self-motivated and capacity to work independently;
  • Self-organized and reliable;
  • Excellent writing and oral communication skills;
  • Excellent analytical skills and a strong understanding of the socio-political context in the Arab region, but particularly of the assigned country;
  • Demonstrated commitment to universal human rights;
  • Willingness and ability to travel, work extra hours (sometimes during weekends), work well under pressure and adapt to emerging issues and changing priorities;
  • Strong ability to work as part of a team and in a consultative manner;
  • Ability to work respectfully in a multicultural environment;
  • Problem solving skills

Application process:

Applications close on 15 November, 2014.

Interviews will take place the following week. The candidate should ideally begin as of December 1, 2014.

Applicants should send a CV, cover letter, the contacts of two references, and an unedited writing sample in English, and either French or Arabic to ,with the heading ‘Researcher Position Application’. No telephone call is needed.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.

CIHRS is an equal opportunity employer.

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