United States Program
(New York or Washington, DC Office preferred)
Application Deadline: Open until filled

Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking a Senior National Security Counsel for its US Program to investigate, analyze, and advocate against human rights abuses related to US national security laws, policies and practices. The Counsel will report to the Deputy Director of the US Program.  The position may be based in one of HRW’s offices in New York or Washington, DC.


1. Investigate and analyze US national security laws, policies and practices, including with regard to ongoing detentions and military commission proceedings at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and any consideration of detainee transfers; prosecutions of persons accused of terrorism; accountability for torture and other US abuses committed in context of counterterrorism efforts; targeted killings; and others as needed, and develop HRW's response to them;

2. Communicate HRW's policy recommendations to officials in the executive and legislative branches of the US government;

3. Maximize pressure for US national security policies that respect internationally recognized rights;

4. Draft legal and advocacy documents targeted at government officials, the press, and the general public;

5. Undertake research and prepare reports documenting US national security practices;

6. Lead advocacy efforts relating to US national security policies and practices with US officials in Washington, DC, including by engaging with existing coalitions, and building new alliances (this includes traveling to Washington, DC, as needed, if not based there); and

7. Carry out other duties as required.


Education:  A law degree, and expertise in international law, are required.

Experience:  Minimum 7-9 years of practical experience relevant to complex projects involving international human rights, humanitarian, and criminal law is required.  

Related Skills and Knowledge: 

1. Extensive knowledge of human rights, international humanitarian law, and national security issues in the US is required; deep commitment to human rights is required.

2. Proven track record of producing timely first-rate written products and editing experience are required;

3. Exceptionally strong research, analytical, writing, and editing skills are required.

4. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English, and strong public speaking skills, are required; proficiency in other languages, such as Arabic and French, is highly desirable; experience with TV, radio, print, and social media is highly desirable.

5. Strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively within HRW and in a diverse environment, as well as with local partners, are required.

6. Capacity to appropriately plan and prioritize and to manage multiple, sometimes competing demands efficiently in a challenging, fast-paced environment are required. 

Salary and BenefitsHRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits.  HRW will pay reasonable relocation expenses and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.

Contact:  Please submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, a brief writing sample (unedited by others), and contact information for three references to usprog_jobs@hrw.org. Please use “National Security Counsel Ref USP-14-1033-A” as the subject of your email.

Only complete applications will be reviewed and only qualified candidates will be contacted.

Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and, in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.