Calling all Human Rights Entry Level Professionals to apply for Assistant Human Rights Officer at OHCHR in Geneva Switzerland

Calling all Human Rights Entry Level Professionals to apply for Assistant Human Rights Officer at OHCHR in Geneva Switzerland



6 months


Description of assignment title

Assistant Human Rights Officer

Assignment country


Expected start date


Sustainable Development Goal

16. Peace, justice and strong institutions

Volunteer category

International UN University Volunteer

DoA reserved for persons with disabilities


Host entity




Expected end date


Number of assignments


Duty stations



Mission and objectives

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is the Secretariat Department responsible for strengthening international human rights mechanisms; enhancing equality and countering discrimination; combating impunity and strengthening accountability and the rule of law; integrating human rights in development and in the economic sphere; widening the democratic space; and early warning and protection of human rights in situations of conflict, violence and insecurity.


This announcement broadcasts international assignments with the Special Procedures Branch (SPB). Located within the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division (TESPRDD), the Special Procedures Branch lends support to independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic perspective.

The Sustainable Human Development Section, is one of the functional units of the Special Procedures Branch, which provides support to nine special procedures mandates, including the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing and Special Rapporteur adequate food.

The applicant will work concurrently with the two teams that support the Special Rapporteur on the right to food on the one hand, which deals with elimination of hunger and addressing food security, and the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, on the other, which deals with a variety of issues related to the right to adequate housing, including preventing and responding to forced evictions, homelessness, spatial segregation and discrimination in housing; security of tenure, accessibility, affordability and habitability of housing.

During the second half of 2023, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food is expected to carry out two country visits and prepare two thematic reports on the COVID-19 recovery and on the right to food and fisheries. While the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing plans to work on the following areas: human rights based guidelines for development-based or climate crisis induced resettlement. He also will focus on the criminalization of persons living in homelessness, e.g. the punishment or imprisonment because of sleeping, staying, eating or living in public or private places, for begging or undertaking other life sustaining activities.

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, under the overall direction of Chief of the Sustainable Human Development Section, the volunteer will report to the Human Rights Officer/s in the assigned work teams.


Assignment Place Remark: • UN International University Volunteer assignments are always without family.

• This UNV assignment is offered in the context of a programme bringing qualified candidates from the developing economies to volunteer with OHCHR. Candidates from developing economies in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa are encouraged to apply. Candidates cannot have residency in Switzerland at the time of application.

• The expected starting date of this assignment is during July 2023, for a period of six (6) months. Please, note that this UN University Volunteer assignment is limited to a maximum duration of 6 months. • Applicants are encouraged to apply for this position if it relates directly to their studies, expertise and/or skills.

• You can explain why you are a suitable candidate for this OHCHR assignment while applying. • Applicants will have to meet the age-related requirements for University UNVs, i.e. 18-26 years during the entire duration of the assignment. The position is a full-time opportunity and the volunteer must adhere to the established weekly working hours of the duty station where the assignment is located, including one hour for lunch.

Task description

Under the direct supervision of Chief of Section, the International University Volunteer will:

– research a broad range of issues relating to the right to food and to adequate housing, including constitutional provisions, legislation, administrative regulations, policies, and practices, and contribute to analytical briefs and assessment reports;

– assist in drafting a wide range of documents, notably correspondence with Governments, in follow-up to information submitted to the Special Rapporteurs from individuals, groups, and other stakeholders, on alleged violations of the rights to food and adequate housing, as well as briefing notes and talking points to assist the Special Rapporteurs to participate in key events and media releases;

– assist in preparing country visits of the Special Rapporteurs, including timely preparation of comprehensive country-assessments, designing the programme of the visit with all parties involved, and assist in handling logistics;

– assist in the organization of consultations and other expert meetings to inform the Special Rapporteurs’ thematic research;

– ensure that routine correspondence is tracked and responded to as well as maintenance of the Special Rapporteurs’ outreach tools, most notably its webpage; – other tasks as required by her/his supervisors in order to ensure comprehensive and effective support of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and participate in activities carried out by the Branch and Office as a whole.

As part of the programme the volunteer is encouraged to provide feedback on OHCHR’s UUNV programme aimed at bringing qualified candidates from the developing economies to volunteer with OHCHR, including suggestions how it could be further improved.

Furthermore, UN Volunteers are required to:

– Strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the concept of volunteerism by reading relevant UNV and external publications and take active part in UNV activities (for instance in events that mark International Volunteer Day)

– Be acquainted with and build on traditional and/or local forms of volunteerism in the host country – Provide annual and end of assignment reports on UN Volunteer actions, results and opportunities using UNV’s Volunteer Reporting Application

– Contribute articles/write-ups on field experiences and submit them for UNV publications/websites, newsletters, press releases, etc.- Assist with the UNV Buddy Programme for newly-arrived UN Volunteers – Promote or advise local groups in the use of online volunteering, or encourage relevant local individuals and organizations to use the UNV Online Volunteering service whenever technically possible.

Eligibility criteria


18 – 26


Candidate must be a national of a country other than the country of assignment.


Required experience

0 years of experience in Applicants are not required to have professional work experience for this assignment however relevant academic and/or practical experience, in particular in the area of law, human rights, social and political sciences, sustainable development and/or development cooperation or in a related area is required.

This could include for example having completed relevant internships or having been engaged in relevant work in a civil society organization on a non-remunerated basis before, during or after the university studies. Experience on issues relating to the right to food or adequate housing would be a particular asset.

Demonstrated research and drafting skills are highly desirable. Other skills: Applicants should be computer literate in standard software applications;

Applications should have a demonstrated interest in the work of the United Nations with a commitment to the ideals of the Charter and have the demonstrated ability to successfully interact with individuals of different cultural backgrounds and beliefs – which includes willingness to understand and be tolerant of differing opinions and views. Languages: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this position fluency in English is required, and fluency and drafting skills in Spanish would be an important asset. Knowledge of another United Nations official language – Arabic, Chinese, French or Russian – would be an advantage.

Area(s) of expertise

Legal affairs

Driving license


English, Level: Fluent, Required Spanish, Level: Working knowledge, Desirable

Required education level

Bachelor degree or equivalent in the area of law, political science, international relations, social sciences or related field. To qualify for this programme, applicants must, at the time of application, be enrolled in a graduate school programme (i.e. Master’s degree or equivalent degree, or higher) or in the final academic year of a first-level university degree programme (i.e. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent degree) in the area of law, political science, international relations, social sciences or related field, OR have graduated with a university as defined above AND, if selected, must commence take the assignment within one-year period from the date of graduation.

Competencies and values

PROFESSIONALISM: Shows pride in work and in achievements; Demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; Is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; Is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; Shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; Remains calm in stressful situation. 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 the 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.

Other information

Living conditions and remarks

The UN Volunteer will be based in Geneva, Switzerland. Currently, there are no direct threats to UN personnel or assets within the country. It is the incumbent’s responsibility to comply with immigration, customs and health requirements while entering/exiting the country. The incumbent is responsible for finding and securing their own accommodation. Geneva is a cosmopolitan metropolis with modern amenities, cultural attractions, public transportation restaurants, and nightlife. UN Volunteer entitlements and allowances: The purpose of the allowances and entitlements paid to UN Volunteers is to enable UN Volunteers to sustain a secure standard of living at the duty stations in line with United Nations standards without incurring personal costs. The allowances are in no way to be understood as compensation, reward, or salary in exchange for the UN Volunteer’s service. Contingent on specific eligibility criteria, location of the volunteer assignment and contractual type and category, the payment of allowances will begin from the date of Commencement of Service For more information on entitlements please read the Condition of Service ( For information specific to your assignment please see below: Monthly Living Allowance (Per month): USD 1893.57 Entry lump sum (one-time payment): USD 4000 Exit allowance (for each month served, paid on completion of contract): $225 Medical and life insurance: Cigna Private Insurance Leave entitlements: Annual leave: 2.5 days accrued per calendar month Certified sick leave: 30 days Uncertified sick leave: 7 days Learning leave: 10 working days per consecutive 12 months Maternity Leave: 16 weeks Paternity Leave: 10 days

Inclusivity statement

United Nations Volunteers is an equal opportunity programme that welcomes applications from qualified professionals. We are committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, care protected characteristics. As part of their adherence to the values of UNV, all UN Volunteers commit themselves to combat any form of discrimination, and to promoting respect for human rights and individual dignity, without distinction of a person’s race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status.

Note on Covid-19 vaccination requirements

Selected candidates for certain occupational groups may be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in line with the applicable host entity policy

Apply here : Calling all Human Rights Entry Level Professionals to apply for Assistant Human Rights Officer at OHCHR in Geneva Switzerland

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