UN Missions

Principal Human Rights Officer

UN Missions

Job Description

This position is located within the Human Rights, Transitional Justice and Rule of Law Service of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). The position is based in Tripoli, Libya (Tripoli is classified as a Hardship "E" duty station and a non-family duty station). The incumbent will be under the direct supervision of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General/Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator (DSRSG/RC/HC).

UNSMIL’s mandate as renewed by UN Resolution 2486 (2019) includes: implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement; consolidation of the governance, security and economic arrangements of the Government of National Accord, a possible ceasefire, subsequent phases of the Libyan transition process, including the constitutional process and the organisation of elections, support to key Libyan institutions, including rule of law institutions and human rights monitoring and reporting; and support for securing uncontrolled arms and related material and countering their proliferation.


Under the overall authority of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and with a dual reporting line to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose office provides the substantive support and general policy guidance, and in line with Security Council resolution 2486, the Chief of Human Rights, Transitional Justice and Rule of Law Service will be responsible for the following duties:

Advisory and representative roles:
1. Acts as the Principal Advisor to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on all human rights and rule of law promotion and protection activities, including the protection of civilians, transitional justice and Access to Justice, the fight against impunity, arbitrary and unlawful detention, enforced disappearances, sexual violence, protection of women and of children in armed conflict, migration, human rights aspects of peace and reconciliation, harassment of journalists and civil society and hate speech.
2. Reports on issues related to human rights, international humanitarian law and the work of the Human Rights, Transitional Justice and Rule of Law Service, including on sexual violence against women, children in armed conflict and civilian casualty tracking.
3. Acts as the Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the country, and reports to the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva in this capacity;
4. Represents the Human Rights component and OHCHR at inter-agency meetings in the country and, in his/her capacity as OHCHR's representative, advises the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) to ensure that human rights and rule of law issues are fully integrated into political, humanitarian and development efforts and programmes including with respect to strategic frameworks consolidated appeal processes;
5. Advises the SRSG, DSRSG/RC/HC, and DSRSG-Political and other senior mission leadership, and leads the Mission's efforts on Protection of Civilians (PoC), in close collaboration with the UNCT and the Protection Cluster. Advises on the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy and serves as the Secretariat to the Mission’s HRDDP Task Force
6. In Coordination with OROLSI and OHCHR, provides advice to senior management on policy and matters related to strategic planning and management of the judicial and corrections systems in the mission area;
7. Represents the Mission and OHCHR on human rights and rule of law matters during contacts with national and international organizations including UN counterparts working in the field of human rights and rule of law, diplomatic missions, donors, and other international actors;
8. Participates in the Mission’s internal advisory, policy and decision-making fora, namely all senior mission leadership fora, and advises on strategic, policy and operational decisions that may have human rights, rule of law and protection implications;
9. Advises on measures necessary for the Mission to protect and promote human rights and rule of law in the mission area, mainstream human rights and to implement a human rights-based approach;

Substantive Coordination:
10. Ensures coordination among all human rights, transitional justice and rule of law activities present in the mission area; ensures the timely and effective flow of information within UNSMIL and the channelling of human rights and rule of law Analysis and concerns for inclusion in crisis management and response;
11. Oversees the use of and verification of human rights violations recorded in the OHCHR human rights database; Ensures the issuance of public reports in consultation with the SRSG/DSRSGs and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in a timely and regular manner in accordance with policy and guidance directives on public reporting by OHCHR and DPPA;
12. Promotes and oversees initiatives linked to supporting and strengthening the National Human Rights promotion and protection system in the country, including through, inter alia, the establishment or reinforcement of a national human rights institution, building civil society and state capacities and in setting protection programs to support victims and witnesses in the context of the fight against impunity;
13. Ensures, as OHCHR representative, that human rights considerations are reflected and integrated in humanitarian activities, including in emergency planning, preparedness and response.
14. Counsels the Government and advocates for compliance with International Human Rights and rule of law standards in the drafting of legislation, including of the Constitution as relevant, and to this effect, collaborate with the Government, UN, and other stakeholders in the planning and implementation of rule of law and security sector reforms;
15. Maintains close liaison with UN counterparts in the country, and in neighbouring countries, with regard to developments that could affect the observance of the human rights and rule of law in the mission area;
16. Supports the mission coordinating mechanisms for the implementation of the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy (HRDDP) on support provided by the UN to non-UN forces as relevant; facilitates risk assessments, Advises senior management on support, follow-up and monitoring and ensures that appropriate information is provided on the implementation of the Policy;
17. Maintains close liaison with OHCHR for timely communication on the human rights situation, to support the various UN human rights mechanisms and to maximize the impact of common and joint strategies between OHCHR and the Mission;
18. Ensures the provision of support to the Government, civil society and the UNCT on the Universal Periodic Review process, as relevant, and the implementation of recommendations thereon derived;
19. Ensures coordination and cooperation with the special envoys, independent experts or commissions of inquiry as relevant in incorporating recommendations and coordinating information and evidence into the human rights strategy of the mission;
20. Ensures coordination with OROLSI for rule of law matters and maximizing partnership in the Global Focal Point for Rule of Law;
21. Ensures gender considerations are included and reflected in all human rights and rule of law activities and outputs and ensure compliance with the UN commitment to promote gender equality and mainstreaming in Mission activities, in cooperation with the Women’s Empowerment Section, as relevant;

Managerial responsibilities:
22. Responsible for the overall management of the Service and substantive leadership, through, inter-alia, formulating a human rights and rule of law strategy and the substantive work programme of the Service, allocating resources, pursuant to a delegation of authority, preparing and reporting on budget and programme performance and evaluating staff performance;
23. Maintains close relationships with OHCHR Headquarters and OROLSI, including the geographic Desk Officers; ensures timely communication on the human rights and rule of law situation, and ensures liaison with the human rights treaty monitoring bodies and special procedures;
24. Performs other duties as assigned by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General/Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General/Resident Coordinator and/or the High Commissioner for Human Rights.


PROFESSIONALISM: Proven sensitivity to conflict and post-conflict political and social environments and ability to adjust behaviours accordingly; Comprehensive knowledge of human rights principles, international mechanisms and of related concepts, including the protection of civilians, transitional justice, Humanitarian Action, DDR, legislative, rule of law reforms and conflict-related sexual violence; Good knowledge of institutional mandates, policies, guidelines and methodologies related to UN peace operations; Capacity to maintain effective partnerships with relevant stakeholders to further the mandate of the organization, and to strategically advocate for the integration of human rights in various fora; Sound political judgment, as well as diplomacy, impartiality, and discretion. Ability to produce in-depth analysis of political, ethnic, racial, gender-based, social, economic and other human rights-related problems to assess their impact and to provide concrete strategy recommendations to redress situations; Capacity to lead the continual improvement of human rights-related work processes and ability to apply best management practices to obtain optimum performance of the Human Rights, Transitional Justice and Rule of Law Division; Understanding of the relevance of information collected by various UN actors for human rights analysis; Sound knowledge of the political background and human rights situation in the country or region; Proven representational, negotiation and managerial skills; Understanding of the relevance of information and data management and its applicability to human rights work; Ability to work and act under pressure in a politically and psychologically difficult environment, with a minimum of comfort and in precarious security conditions; Commitment to implement the goal of gender equality by ensuring the equal participation and full involvement of women and men in all aspects of the peace operation and to mainstream gender in all activities of the Human Rights, Transitional Justice and Rule of Law Division; Shows pride in work and in achievements; 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 situations; Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

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.

Managerial competencies:

VISION: Identifies strategic issues, opportunities and risks; Clearly communicates links between the Organization's strategy and the work unit's goals; Generates and communicates broad and compelling organizational direction, inspiring others to pursue that same direction; Conveys enthusiasm about future possibilities.

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 degree or equivalent) in human rights, law, international relations, political science 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. For this position, a first-level or advanced degree in human rights or law is desirable.

Work Experience

Over 15 years of progressively responsible professional experience at national and international levels in the fields of human rights, humanitarian action, political or social affairs, of which at least ten in the field of human rights is required. Such experience must encompass the monitoring and investigating of human rights violations.
A minimum of seven years in management and leadership capacities is required, including the supervising of teams comprised of professionals covering the areas of expertise covered by the Service.
Proven experience advising senior governmental representatives on human rights and/or rule of law and advocating for the promotion and protection of and respect for human rights in a conflict or post-conflict environment is required.
Professional experience working with the United Nations Common System, or other international or nongovernmental organization, advocating for the promotion of and respect for human rights in a conflict or post-conflict environment is required.
A minimum of two years’ human rights experience working in/on assigned geographic conflict or post conflict locations is required.
Experience in the Middle East and North Africa region is an asset.
Experience working with UN Country Teams is desirable.
Experience in a UN field operation 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. Fluency or a working knowledge of Arabic is desirable.


Previously rostered candidates are not subject to any further assessment and as such, will not be invited for such an assessment.

Special Notice

This "Recruit from Roster" job opening is only open to roster applicants who are already placed on pre-approved rosters, following a review by a United Nations Central Review Body. Only roster applicants who were placed on rosters with similar functions at the same level are considered to be eligible candidates. Eligible applicants receive an email inviting them to apply. Rostered applicants are encouraged to apply only if they are interested and available to take up the position at the duty station/s specified in the Job Opening. Applying to this job opening carries an expectation to accept the offer, if selected.

The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. The term “sexual harassment” means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator’s working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places 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. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

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