Senior Policy Counsel

Job Type

Full Time



Application Deadline



District of Columbia
United States


The Center for Victims of Torture is hiring a Senior Policy Counselor who will lead CVT’s advocacy to protect asylum seekers’ rights and access to protection in the U.S., working collaboratively with the DC policy team. The Senior Policy Counsel will also provide consultative and advisory services on asylum-related issues to CVT clinical staff and to other members of the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs. The position may also support other CVT advocacy priorities, as a member of the policy team.

Location:             Washington DC

Reports to:        Director of Washington DC Office

Start date:          Immediately


The Center for Victims of Torture works toward a future in which torture ceases to exist and its victims have hope for a new life. We are an international nonprofit dedicated to healing survivors of torture. We offer rehabilitation services to those who have been tortured, train partners around the world who can prevent and treat torture, and advocate for human rights and an end to torture. We are headquartered in Minnesota, and we have US offices in Atlanta and DC, as well as offices in Africa and the Middle East.


Asylum Advocacy: Working collaboratively with the DC policy team, lead development and implementation of strategies to guard against the erosion of asylum seekers’ rights and to ensure the U.S. has strong laws and policies in place to allow asylum seekers to access protection. Responsibilities include: 

  • Engage with Congress, the administration, the press and the public
  • Draft and edit statements, reports, action alerts and other materials.
  • Provide consultative and advisory services on asylum and related immigration issues to CVT clinical staff and to other members of the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs
  • Participate in formal and informal NGO coalitions to advance policy positions.
  • Serve as a representative of the organization and foster relationships that advance organizational priorities on asylum and related immigration issues.

Appropriations and Torture Policy Advocacy: Support other priority areas of CVT’s policy work, including: 1) protection and expansion of federal financial support for torture survivor rehabilitation centers in the U.S. and abroad, and related appropriations advocacy; and 2) securing transparency, accountability and reform around the U.S. post-9/11 torture program.

Internal Coordination: Coordinate with other CVT departments to stay updated on challenges faced by CVT clients that may have policy implications and provide feedback to relevant CVT staff on debates in Washington DC concerning U.S. asylum and related immigration policies.

Other duties: Participate in other department and organization-wide activities, meetings and trainings. Complete administrative responsibilities. Perform other duties as assigned.


Required education, experience, certificates, licenses or registrations

·        J.D. or Master’s Degree in public policy or related field

·        3 years of experience in immigration law, with a focus on asylum.

·        3 years of experience in issue advocacy or experience as a lobbyist.


Preferred education, experience, certificates, licenses or registrations

·        J.D.

·        Experience representing asylum seekers or adjudicating asylum claims.

·        3-5 years of policy advocacy experience focused on asylum seekers’ rights, refugee rights, or human rights more broadly.

·        Experience engaging impacted populations directly in advocacy.

Competencies (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities)

·        Knowledge of issues facing asylum seekers in the U.S. (Knowledge of the unique challenges facing survivors of torture seeking asylum in the U.S. a plus.)

·        Strong knowledge of immigration law and processes related to asylum seekers.

·        Ability to read, analyze and interpret legislation, regulations, and related materials concerning immigration law.

·        Excellent political judgment and strategic thinking.

·        Strong understanding of Congress and the legislative process. (Understanding of and experience with the appropriations process a plus).  

·        Superior interpersonal, public speaking and written communication skills.

·        Ability to communicate effectively with individuals at all levels and across the political spectrum.

·        Ability to communicate complex legal issues in a clear and concise way that can be understood by a variety of audiences.

·        Demonstrated success in building and managing relationships across branches of government and between sectors.

·        Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment.

·        Ability to work effectively with diverse coalitions.

·        Ability to work autonomously and take appropriate initiative in a work location remote from headquarters.

·        Working knowledge of Microsoft Office suite (Outlook, Word and Excel).

·        Excellent skills in organization, attention to detail and time management (including the ability to meet deadlines).

·        Ability to travel up to 10% time nationally.

·        Interest in or commitment to human rights.

To Apply: Submit resume, cover letter and salary expectations by October 28, 2018 to

Affirmative Action/EEO/Minorities/Females/Vet/Disabled/E-Verify Employer

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply

Submit resume, cover letter and salary expectations by October 28, 2018 to