Principal Human Rights Officer, D-1

DATE OF ISSUANCE:   26 Jun 2013
ORGANIZATIONAL UNIT:   Field Missions Administered by DPKO
DUTY STATION:   Mogadiscio

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Mission Preference List

This position is located within the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). The Principal Human Rights Officer, D-1 will be based in Mogadishu.
Depending on professional background, experience and family situation, a competitive compensation and benefits package is offered.
More Info

United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
Under the overall authority of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and direct supervision of the Deputy SRSG, with the substantive support and general policy guidance of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and in line with Security Council resolution 2102 (2013), the UNSOM Principal Human Rights Officer will be the Chief of the Human Rights component and will be responsible for the following duties: ADVISORY AND REPRESENTATIVE ROLES - Act as the Principal Adviser to the SRSG and report to him/her through the Deputy SRSG on issues related to the human rights mandate and the work of the Human Rights component, including investigation of human rights violations, violence committed against children and women and other vulnerable populations, sexual violence, protection of civilians, and efforts to combat impunity; Act as the Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Somalia, and report to the High Commissioner (HC) in this capacity; Represent the UNSOM Human Rights Section and OHCHR at inter-agency meetings in Somalia and, in his/her capacity as OHCHR's representative, advise the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) to ensure that human rights issues are fully integrated into political, humanitarian, security sector reform and development efforts and programmes, including with respect to the United Nations Development Assistance and Integrated Strategic Frameworks (UNDAF and ISF), as well as the Consolidated (Humanitarian) Appeal (C(H)AP) processes; Represent the mission and OHCHR in all human rights matters with national and international organizations working in the field of human rights, diplomatic missions, donors, and other international actors; Provide advice at senior levels to the Government of Somalia in respect to human rights concerns, bringing to their attention actual and potential violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, and suggesting appropriate actions; Advise the Government of Somalia on strategies, policies and actions necessary to ratify key international human rights instruments and on its obligations under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), and ensure respect and implementation of international human rights law and standards; Advise the mission on the development of a comprehensive strategy for the protection of civilians, as well as for its implementation, and provide advice for the prevention of conflict-related sexual violence and the protection of children in consultation with the Senior Women's Protection Adviser and Senior Child Protection Adviser; Participate in the mission's internal policy and decision-making processes and in any other fora established by the Head of Mission to advise him/her on strategic, policy and operational decisions, in particular those that may have human rights implications; Inform other UNSOM components on measures to adopt for the protection and promotion of human rights, to mainstream human rights and to implement a human rights-based approach, with special attention to support national peacebuilding priorities; SUBSTANTIVE COORDINATION - Ensure the regular and timely issuance of public human rights reports in consultation with OHCHR and the SRSG and of other relevant internal reports, including to OHCHR; Ensure investigations of human rights violations are conducted and recommendations of conclusive reports are followed up with the Government and, in this respect, advise the UN and other stakeholders on adopting strategies for the recommendations to be integrated in other programmes; Ensure that quality and standards are met with regard to human rights monitoring, investigation, verification, and reporting, as well as compliance with established monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements and mechanisms; Ensure appropriate liaison with Somali authorities at national, regional and local levels and ensure they are provided with regular updates on the human rights, justice and transitional justice situation; Collaborate with the Government, UN, and other stakeholders in the planning and implementation of justice and security sector reforms and provide strategic advice to improve compliance with human rights and international humanitarian law with a view to combat impunity; In close coordination with United Nations agencies, other UNSOM components, and other international actors, support the Somali authorities and civil society at all levels to promote compliance with obligations related to the protection of civilians and to protect the human rights including of those most vulnerable, notably women and children, as well as human rights defenders, victims and witnesses; Ensure the integration of human rights into the mission's efforts to coordinate mechanisms to improve protection of civilians, including through participating in the planning and execution of any mission response; Counsel the UN mission and Government and advocate compliance with international human rights standards in the drafting of legislation and constitutional review, and further oversee the provision of technical assistance to this effect; Provide overall guidance and strategic advice to Human Rights Officers (Women's Protection Advisers), including through overseeing the strategic design of joint work plans and by ensuring quality and timely monitoring and reporting on widespread conflict-related sexual violence, including with respect to the established monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangement and work together with the Senior Women's Protection Adviser to ensure coherence on mission strategies to address sexual violence; Maintain close liaison with UN counterparts in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, including with OHCHR's Regional Office for Eastern Africa, with regard to developments that could affect the observance of the human rights in the mission area; Ensure that a coordinated capacity-building strategy for the protection and promotion of human rights with the Government, regional and local authorities, civil society, NGOs, donors, the UN mission and other UN agencies is put in place and that resources are directed for the implementation of key programmes; Ensure, as the High Commissioner's representative, that human rights considerations are reflected and integrated in humanitarian activities, including in emergency planning, preparedness and response, and through participating in and/or playing a lead role in the work of the Protection Cluster, as appropriate; Contribute to the fulfilment of UN Special Procedures mandates and ensure provision of substantive support to the various UN human rights mechanisms; Ensure provision of support to the Government, civil society and the UNCT on the preparation of UPR process and the implementation of recommendations thereon derived; Chair the mission's taskforce for the implementation of the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy on UN support to non-UN security forces (HRDDP) and ensure that risk assessments are undertaken, advice is given to senior management on support, follow-up and monitoring, and that appropriate information is provided to UN review group on the implementation of the Policy; Contribute to ensuring compliance with the UN commitment to mainstream human rights and integrate gender perspectives and specific women/girls' rights issues in all Mission activities, in cooperation with the UNSOM Gender Adviser and Senior Women's Protection Adviser; MANAGERIAL RESPONSIBILITIES - Is responsible for the overall management, the coordination of the Human Rights component's activities and for the above-mentioned functions at UNSOM headquarters and in human rights field offices, including in Somaliland, Puntland and South-Central Somalia; Formulates a human rights and protection strategy as well as the substantive program of work; presents budget and staffing requirements and is thus responsible for reporting on budget/programme performance as well as for defining staffing needs, the allocation of human resources, recruitment, and the evaluation of staff performance; Ensure the Human Rights component collects, consolidates and analyses information received from field offices, including through coordinating the effective use and maintenance of the human rights case database; the establishment of quality control mechanisms; and the timely and quality entry of data into the database on the basis of clear methodologies; Maintain close liaison with OHCHR-HQ, including with geographical desk officers, ensuring timely communication on the human rights situation and ensuring liaison with human rights treaty monitoring bodies and special procedures mechanisms; Responsible for the planning, management and implementation of OHCHR-funded projects in Somalia, in accordance with approved OHCHR biennial plans; Perform other any other duties as required by the SRSG and the HC.

PROFESSIONALISM - Excellent knowledge of and exposure to a range of human rights and justice issues, the rules governing the protection of human rights and the mechanisms available in case of violations. Familiarity with the realities of conflict and post-conflict countries. Capacity to relate to and integrate human rights issues and perspectives into other fields – humanitarian action, development, rule of law, legislative reforms and vice-versa; Capacity to advise on legislative reforms; Sound knowledge on organizing and carrying out human rights investigations; Knowledge of the political and conflict context of Somalia and the human rights challenges it faces; Knowledge and understanding of gender concepts and methodologies and on women/girl’s rights issues. Ability to work and act under pressure in a politically and stressful, difficult environment, with a minimum of comfort and in precarious security conditions; Sound political judgment, impartiality, diplomacy 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. ACCOUNTABILITY - Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments; Delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards; Operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules; Supports subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments; Takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable. 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. 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. JUDGEMENT/DECISION-MAKING - Identifies the key issues in a complex situation, and comes to the heart of the problem quickly; Gathers relevant information before making a decision; Considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; Takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the Organization; Proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information; Checks assumptions against facts; Determines that the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; Makes tough decisions when necessary.


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

Work Experience
A minimum of 15 years of progressively responsible professional experience at national and international levels in the fields of human rights, humanitarian action, political or social affairs, including at least ten years in the field of human rights, is required. Such experience must encompass the monitoring and investigation of human rights violations, the development of human rights capacity building strategies and the integration of human rights in rule of law and/or security sector reforms, and must include a minimum of 7 years supervising teams and in a managerial and leadership capacity. Professional experience working with the United Nations, or other international or non-governmental organization, donor and/or governmental representatives advocating for the promotion of and respect for human rights in a conflict or post-conflict environment is required. Proven experience in successful advocacy with host Governments, including in states emerging from conflict, is required. Human Rights experience in assigned geographic conflict or post conflict locations is required.

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 a second United Nations official language and/or relevant local languages 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.



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