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Chief Human Rights Officer, D-1
DATE OF ISSUANCE:   09 May 2013
ORGANIZATIONAL UNIT:   United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan

Depending on professional background, experience and family situation, a competitive compensation and benefits package is offered.
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United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
The mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) was renewed by UN Security Council Resolution 2096 in March 2013. UNAMA's key role is to lead and coordinate international civilian efforts in Afghanistan with a particular focus on several priorities including promotion and protection of human rights. Among other priorities, UNAMA is mandated to monitor the situation of civilians, to coordinate efforts to ensure their protection, to promote accountability and to assist in full implementation of the fundamental freedoms and human rights provisions of Afghanistan's Constitution and international treaties to which Afghanistan is a State party, in particular those regarding the full enjoyment by women of their human rights. UNAMA also supports efforts to promote an inclusive Afghan-led peace process and improve governance and the rule of law. Under the overall authority of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and with the substantive support and general policy guidance of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Chief of the Human Rights Unit will be responsible for the following main functions: ADVISORY AND REPRESENTATIVE ROLES - Report to the SRSG and act as the Principal Advisor to the SRSG on all human rights promotion and protection activities, including the protection of civilians in the armed conflict, the prevention of torture and arbitrary detention, elimination of violence against women and girls, protection of children in armed conflict and human rights aspects of peace and reconciliation, and report on issues related to human rights and the work of the Human Rights component; Act as the Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Afghanistan, and report to the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva in his/her capacity as Representative of the High Commissioner; Represent OHCHR within the Security Management Team and UN Country Team (UNCT), including with respect to the CCA/UNDAF process, coordinate with other actors, including UN agencies, bilateral and multilateral partners and advise relevant UNCT theme groups and working groups on human rights issues; Represent the mission and OHCHR on human rights matters during contact with national and international organizations working in the field of human rights, diplomatic missions, donors, and other international actors; Participate in the mission's internal policy and decision-making processes, as relevant, and advise on policy, strategic and operational decisions that may have human rights implications; Participate in Senior Management Team meetings, inform its participants on the activities of the human rights component and recommend measures necessary or desirable for other sections of the Mission to protect and promote human rights in the mission area; co-chair the Inter-Agency Task Force on Human Rights, together with the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG-II); Serve as principal contact point in UNAMA and devise support strategies for the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC); SUBSTANTIVE COORDINATION - Monitor the human rights situation and functioning of key rule-of-law institutions and help ensure that quality standards are met with regard to the collected data; Ensure the issuance of public reports in consultation with the SRSG and the High Commissioner for Human Rights and her Office in a timely and regular manner, in accordance with the current policy directives and guidance on public reporting by peace missions; Promote policy coherence and an integrated, coordinated mission-wide approach to human rights, including a consistent approach to addressing gender-based violence, the promotion of women's participation in public and political life, and the protection of children in armed conflict, as well as manage the Child Protection Unit in line with the current management structure of the Mission; Liaise regularly with heads of other mission components, UN agencies and donors to mainstream human rights in national development programmes and state-building processes; Liaise with other UN and non-UN human rights mechanisms and with Afghan government agencies and NGOs, in particular to build national human rights capacities; Maintain liaison with authorities and provide them with regular updates on the human rights and the justice situation; Promote and oversee initiatives linked to supporting and strengthening the national human rights promotion and protection system in Afghanistan, in collaboration with UN agencies, the AIHRC and civil society, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including engagement with international human rights mechanisms (Special Procedures, Treaty Bodies and Universal Periodic Review); Supervise monitoring and investigation of alleged human rights violations, in cooperation with the AIHRC; Promote respect for human rights and humanitarian law in the context of humanitarian action, including in emergency preparedness and response, and through participation in the Protection Cluster; In close cooperation with OHCHR, administer the implementation of OHCHR technical cooperation projects in Afghanistan; Keep OHCHR fully apprised of the human rights situation and related activities, in the context of developing common strategies between OHCHR and UNAMA; Maintain close liaison with OHCHR, including with geographical desk officers, the treaty bodies and special procedures mechanisms, and ensure timely communications on the human rights situation; MANAGERIAL RESPONSIBILITIES - Responsible for the overall management of the Human Rights component and OHCHR technical cooperation programmes and the provision of substantive leadership, through, inter-alia, formulating the substantive work program of the office, allocating resources, preparation and reporting on budget/programme performance; evaluating staff performance and ensuring appropriate staffing of the component; Ensure that the Human Rights Unit collects, consolidates, analyses and reports on information on human rights developments received from staff from across the mission; Ensure that required standards with regard to monitoring and reporting are met, including that public reports are issued in consultation with the SRSG and HC/OHCHR; Serve as a member of UNAMA's senior management group; Perform other duties as required by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

PROFESSIONALISM - Sound knowledge of the political background and human rights situation in Afghanistan; comprehensive knowledge of, and exposure to, a range of human rights issues, specifically including the protection of civilians and gender issues, the rules governing their protection, and the mechanisms available in cases of their violation; knowledge of justice, the rule of law and humanitarian action as it relates to the promotion and protection of human rights; ability to establish and maintain sound working relationships with international and national partners as well as proven representational, negotiation and managerial skills; strong ability to take initiatives and to demonstrate autonomy; ability to work and act under pressure in a politically and psychologically difficult environment, with a minimum of comfort and in dangerous security conditions; high level of integrity, sound political judgment, as well as diplomacy, impartiality, and discretion. COMMUNICATION - Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; Asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; Tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed. TEAMWORK - Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; Solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; Places team agenda before personal agenda; Supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; Shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings. MANAGERIAL COMPTENCIES: MANAGING PERFORMANCE - Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority; Makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; Accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills; Monitors progress against milestones and deadlines; Regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff; Encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative; Actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff; Appraises performance fairly. LEADERSHIP - Serves as a role model that other people want to follow; Empowers others to translate vision into results; Is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; Establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; Anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; Drives for change and improvement, does not accept the status quo; Shows the courage to take unpopular stands. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing.


An advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in law, political science, social sciences or international relations, preferably with specialisation in human rights. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced degree.

Work Experience
A minimum of 15 years of progressively responsible experience at national and international levels in the fields of human rights, justice and rule of law, and humanitarian affairs, including in the cause and resolution of human rights conflicts in accordance with international standards. A minimum of three years serving in a managerial capacity and supervising large teams is required. A proven record of advisory experience to senior governmental representatives in the human rights area is required. Previous experience in human rights monitoring, investigation of human rights violations, as well as in the building of national institutional capacities to promote and protect human rights and the rule of law, is required. Previous experience in a United Nations, non-governmental organization, regional organization, or bilateral government operation in assigned geographic conflict or post-conflict location is required. Particular experience in a UN peace mission and/or UN human rights field operation is desirable. Previous experience in Afghanistan is desirable.

English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in oral and written English is required. Knowledge of Dari or Pashtu is desirable.

Other Skills

The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. (Charter of the United Nations - Chapter 3, article 8).   English and French are the two working languages of the United Nations Secretariat.  The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.



How to apply

All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online as soon as possible after the vacancy has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the vacancy announcement. Because applications submitted by United Nations (UN) staff members are considered first, provided the eligibility requirements set out in ST/AI/2006/3 are met and the application is submitted in a timely fashion, staff members should apply within 15-day or 30-day mark.

Online applications will be acknowledged where an email address has been provided. If you do not receive an e-mail acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received. In such cases, please go to “My UN” page and check the status of your application by clicking on “View Application History”, and resubmit the application, if necessary.
  1. To start the application process, applicants are required to register by opening a "My UN" account. Go to Login, and Register as a User. Fill in the form and choose a User Name and Password.

  2. After opening the account, applicants may apply for vacancies using the Personal History Profile (PHP) provided. Once the PHP has been completed for a particular vacancy, it can be saved and used for future applications. The PHP may be up-dated, when necessary, for future applications.

  3. In completing the PHP, please note that all fields marked with an asterisk must be completed.

  4. UN staff members must submit scanned copies of their two latest Performance Appraisal System (PAS) reports at the time of application to the appropriate Human Resources Office (HRO)/Personnel Office (PO) to the email address below, clearly indicating the vacancy announcement number. In case you have no access to the digitizing equipment, please submit hard copies of the two latest PAS reports to the relevant HRO/PO via fax.


Please see the Frequently Asked Questions, if you encounter problems when applying.