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Senior Human Rights Counsel

Date Posted: 1/19/2017
Organization: Center for Reproductive Rights
Location: Washington, DC

Description of Organization:
The Center for Reproductive Rights (the Center) is the premier global legal organization dedicated to advancing women's reproductive health, self-determination, and dignity. Its mission is straightforward and ambitious: to advance reproductive health and rights as fundamental human rights that all governments around the world are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill. Headquartered in New York City, the Center has regional offices in Bogota, Geneva, Kathmandu, Nairobi, and Washington, DC and a staff of more than 130 diverse professionals. Its annual operating budget is approximately $23 million, the result of an extraordinary growth trajectory; the Center is now poised for a new phase of significant expansion through its next Strategic Plan.

The Centerís game-changing litigation and advocacy work, combined with its unparalleled expertise in constitutional, comparative, and international human rights law, have transformed how reproductive rights are understood by courts, governments, and human rights bodies worldwide. It has played a key role in securing landmark legal victories in the U.S., Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe on issues including access to life-saving obstetrics care, contraception, safe abortion services, and comprehensive sexuality information, as well as the prevention of forced sterilization and child marriage. It has brought groundbreaking cases before national courts, U.N. Committees, and regional human rights bodies, led the development of historic, proactive legislation advancing robust protections for reproductive rights, and has built the legal capacity of womenís rights advocates in more than 55 countries.

To learn more about the Center for Reproductive Rights, go to

Position Responsibilities:
The Senior Human Rights Counsel will report directly to the Senior Director, Policy & Managing Director, DC Office. This position will develop and implement the Centerís U.S.-based human rights advocacy strategies, including elevating the Centerís focus on maternal health and rights, and, in collaboration with the broader U.S. human rights and reproductive justice movements, lead the Centerís work to hold the U.S. government accountable to its international human rights obligations. The Senior Human Rights Counsel will serve as a key player and thought partner to both the U.S. Program and Global Legal Program teams in protecting human rights standards on reproductive rights and implementing these norms at the federal and state levels.

This position will be based in Washington, DC or New York City.

Responsibilities: The Senior Human Rights Counselís primary job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Plan and execute the Centerís U.S. human rights advocacy strategies to advance the Centerís strategic priorities, under the guidance of the Senior Director, Policy and in collaboration with the U.S advocacy and litigation teams and Global Advocacy program;
  • Build the capacity, expertise, and resources of advocates in the Southeast to promote policy solutions at the state, national, and global levels to ensure reproductive rights and justice, specifically strategies aimed at improving maternal health outcomes and address amplifying the leadership of Black women and building alliances across diverse sectors including policy makers, public health sector, and advocates to be part of the Centerís work. Specific goals will include (1) conducting joint advocacy and policy initiatives, (2) providing technical assistance to support state advocates, (3) collaborate with public health and medical sectors, (4) influence federal policy to integrate human rights recommendations on reducing maternal health disparities;
  • Develop and lead the Centerís engagement with international and regional human rights mechanisms to ensure accountability of the U.S. government to its human rights obligations, including through the following activities: planning a comprehensive strategy for the Centerís role in international advocacy forums, specifically treaty monitoring body (TMB) reviews of the U.S. and the Universal Periodic Review; drafting written submissions and conducting oral advocacy in UN fora to further this strategy; strategically working in coalition with other U.S. NGOs and assuming, where appropriate, a leadership role in human rights networks to promote the Centerís visibility and advance its influence in the domestic human rights movement; and conducting advocacy with state and federal government agencies charged with implementation of U.S. human rights obligations;
  • Build new and strengthen existing relationships with key stakeholders, partner organizations, and other allies, including international and regional human rights bodies and experts; domestic human rights organizations, networks, and coalitions; reproductive healthcare providers; reproductive justice advocates; other social justice organizations; and communities most affected by restrictions on reproductive rights and health access with the goals of (1) furthering acceptance of reproductive rights as human rights, (2) demonstrating the Centerís leadership in the human rights field generally and reproductive rights specifically, (3) mobilizing a powerful domestic human rights movement, and (4) strengthening the capacity of domestic organizations to incorporate human rights strategies and opportunities into policy and/or other advocacy efforts;
  • Oversee the human rights team which includes: Human Rights Counsel, Human Rights Assistant, and Manager, U.S. Maternal Health & Human Rights Campaigns;
  • Actively administer the human rights program, including preparing and managing the U.S. human rights budget; participating in the hiring of other advocacy staff; and representing the human rights team in cross-department working groups; and
  • Promote and support the Center's U.S. human rights work in connection with broader institutional goals, including by representing and presenting on behalf of the Center at conferences, writing journal articles that raise the visibility of the Centerís work, and supporting development and fund-raising work.

  • Qualifications:
  • Strong commitment to the Centerís mission, purpose, and values;
  • J.D. required;
  • Minimum of 6 years of relevant experience;
  • Strong knowledge of international human rights law and mechanisms, and experience using these mechanisms to implement human rights standards at the federal and/or state level within a U.S. domestic context;
  • Knowledge of reproductive health and maternal health policy at the state and/or federal level;
  • Demonstrated commitment to human rights and experience working with social justice movements in the United States;
  • Experience in working or building coalitions; leadership within coalitions of social justice movements in the United States strongly preferred;
  • Effective public speaking skills and writing skills;
  • Experience working with media and integrating communications strategies into advocacy campaigns; and
  • Management experience, including managing a remote team, strongly preferred.

  • Apply To:
    Please click on the link below to apply. A cover letter, resume, writing sample, and contact information for three references must be included in your application in order to be considered for this position. Please include these application materials as attachments.