Human Rights Watch is Recruiting Researcher and Advocate for the United States Program 2023

Researcher and Advocate for the United States Program

The United States Program (USP) of Human Rights Watch (HRW) is seeking applicants for the position of Researcher and Advocate to staff the racial justice work of the USP. The Researcher and Advocate will identify and monitor race-based abuses in the US, and advocate for laws, policies and practices designed to achieve racial justice and equity.

Researcher and Advocate for the United States Program
Researcher and Advocate for the United States Program

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Researcher and Advocate for the United States Program

The Researcher and Advocate should have demonstrated experience addressing the causes and effects of racial injustice in the US, including its links to poverty. They should be interested in exploring how human rights abuses, including the failure to achieve economic and social rights, are rooted in entrenched, often racist, power structures.

The Researcher and Advocate reports to the Associate Director. The successful candidate may have the option to work remotely. The location of this role is flexible within the United States. We aim to be as flexible and supportive as possible in both the recruitment and onboarding of this position.

United States Program

The United States Program of Human Rights Watch works to secure the fundamental rights and dignity of every person subject to the authority of the US government.  The US Program is organized to advance human rights in three priority areas — criminal justice, immigration, and democracy — in ways that center racial justice and equity.  In partnership with allied organizations, USP undertakes research and provides expertise to evaluate ongoing racial human rights violations in the US, identifies goals and targets for remedy, and engages in advocacy for change.  In addition to our priorities, areas for engagement include reparations for slavery and Indigenous peoples’ rights, as well as education, environmental justice, labor, health, including mental health, and housing rights through a race lens.  In addition to its independent research and advocacy in these areas, USP also collaborates with the multiple HRW thematic and regional divisions that work in the United States to address racial justice issues in their specific projects. 


1. Identify and analyze race-based abuses within the broader political, social, and economic context (including the context of structural racism) to highlight factors contributing to abuses and avenues for effective change; design research and advocacy addressing myriad racial justice concerns through a human right lens;

2. Research, monitor and document human rights abuses by collecting and analyzing information from a wide variety of sources including directly affected people, grassroots and grasstops partner organizations, litigators, governmental and agency personnel, journalists, academics, and others in the field; undertake “desk” research;

3. Monitor legal and policy developments regarding racial justice concerns, especially regarding the executive and legislative branches of federal government as well as state, tribal and local governments;

4. Write and publicize reports, policy, legal, and regulatory analysis, letters, news releases, short commentary and blog posts, tweet threads, op-eds, and submissions to international bodies, as needed;

5. Assist in the development and implementation of advocacy strategies based on research to change laws, policies, and practices designed to achieve racial justice and equity;

6. Participate in coalitions led by partners;

7. Work closely with directly affected people, and partner organizations to ensure that HRW’s work is responsive to directly affected people’s needs and is in close partnership with them;

8. Respond promptly to queries from the media, public, and colleagues in the human rights community; respond to and/or anticipate news events in order to press human rights issues; to assess when and where to make public interventions; and to think creatively about using the web and social media to generate public support for human rights issues and further advocacy goals;

9. Perform speaking duties and represent the work of the US Program in public forums;

10. Travel, as required, to conduct and lead research and advocacy work, and meet with colleagues; and

11. Perform other tasks, as may be required.


Especially given the US Program’s substantive work focus and theory of change, Black, Indigenous and other people of color, as well as people impacted by the criminal legal and/or immigration systems are encouraged to apply. Candidates who are traditionally underrepresented in the human rights sector are enthusiastically encouraged to apply if they feel they have the ability to succeed in this role, even if they do not have all of the skills and qualifications listed.

Education: An advanced degree or commensurate experience in journalism, law, social sciences, international relations, or related studies is required.

Experience: Minimum three (3) years of relevant experience in investigations and connected advocacy, leading community and policy advocacy campaigns and initiatives, local, state, or federal government experience, grassroots organizing, communications strategies, and/or various forms of related social justice litigation required. 

Related Skills and Knowledge:

1. Knowledge of racial justice, social justice and civil and human rights issues in the United States, and ability to identify and evaluate trends and needs.

2. Demonstrated ability to conduct complex and/or innovative research and advocacy projects with minimal supervision.

3. Relevant experience and familiarity with human rights research.

4. Relevant experience in work to combat structural barriers that entrench racial and economic discrimination in the United States, preferably including work with or alongside organizations led by directly impacted people, in determining advocacy, research, and communications strategies to pursue.

5. Ability to write and edit accurate, persuasive, well-organized, analytical, and timely reports and media products is required.

6. Strong initiative and follow-through, the capacity to think creatively and strategically, and excellent writing and editing skills are required.

7. Strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively within the US Program team and HRW more broadly, as well as with local partners, government officials, media, and other external partners is required.

8. Ability to multi-task effectively, including having good planning and organizing skills and ability to work under pressure are required.

9. Good judgment and the ability to make sound decisions consistent with functions is required.

Salary and Benefits

The salary range for this position is USD 77,000-85,000. Human Rights Watch offers comprehensive employer-paid benefits, including medical, dental, vision, disability and life insurance, a retirement savings plan and twenty (20) days of vacation per year. HRW offers a relocation assistance package and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; people of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply

Please apply immediately by August 1, 2023 by visiting our online job portal at and attaching a cover letter and a resume or CV. No calls or email inquiries, please. Applications must be complete to receive considerations, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Apply Here to be Researcher and Advocate for the United States Program 2023

Researcher and Advocate for the United States Program

Researcher and Advocate for the United States Program

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