Researcher, US Program

Job Type

Full Time



Application Deadline:



Los Angeles
United States




United States Program

Application Deadline: April 30, 2018

The US Program of Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking a Researcher to investigate, document, and advocate against human rights abuses experienced by deportees from the United States. This position will involve extensive research and travel in Latin America, particularly El Salvador. This is a fixed-term, 12-month position focused on assessing and reporting on human rights conditions in El Salvador and risks faced by Salvadoran nationals after deportation from the United States. The Researcher will report to the Managing Director of the US Program. The full-time position is ideally based in HRW’s office in Los Angeles or San Francisco or, by agreement, in New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, or another location.


1. Identify issues or trends that should be US Program priorities in relation to the situation of Salvadoran deportees by communicating with a wide range of participants in and observers of the immigration system (e.g. inter alia immigrants and their family members, service providers, post-deportation shelters, transnational migrant organizations, legal services organizations, judges, immigration enforcement personnel, police, academics, and journalists);

2. Research, document and analyze policies and practices of federal immigration agencies and states involved in immigration policies as well as human rights conditions in El Salvador;

3. Write a reliable, comprehensive, and timely report (often including images, audio, data analysis, and/or online tools) on human rights abuses experienced by immigrants, deportees, and their families;

4. Under the supervision of the Managing Director of the Americas division, write a chapter on El Salvador for Human Rights Watch’s 2019 World Report (covering the events of 2018) and complete other research and writing tasks for the Americas Division as required;

5. Write op-eds, press releases, briefing memos, statements, testimony and other materials;

6. Assist in the development and implementation of advocacy strategies to change abusive laws, policies, and practices;

7. Respond promptly to queries from the media, public, and colleagues in the human rights community and take initiative to project concerns in public debate;

8. Place abuses within the broader political, social and economic contexts and present human rights concerns to government officials, opinion leaders, inter-governmental agencies, and the media;

9. Work closely with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local human rights organizations to ensure that HRW’s work complements and enhances their own work;

10. Be prepared and willing to work flexible hours to accommodate developing and urgent events;

11. Travel domestically and overseas, as required, to conduct fact-finding missions;

12. Help set priorities for the US Program’s research and advocacy efforts;

13. Deliver outputs in a timely manner and be consistent with the agreed strategy and priorities of the US Program; and

14. Carry out any other duties as required.


Education: A US law degree or an advanced degree in US immigration law/policy, journalism, or a related field is required.

Experience: A minimum of three to five years of relevant experience is required.

Related Skills and Knowledge:

1. Excellent oral and written communication skills, including strong editing skills, in English and Spanish are required.

2. Ability to identify, research, analyze and effectively communicate important human rights developments is required.

3. Ability and sensitivity to conduct interviews with a wide range of people, including victims, witnesses, and government officials are required.

4. Ability to efficiently distil information about US immigration law/policy so as to focus time and effort on issues of greatest importance or issues that are most capable of being influenced is required.

5. Ability to think strategically, to be a tenacious and creative researcher, to marshal facts objectively, and to develop powerful arguments based on the facts in both oral and written communications is required.

6. Ability to identify and advise the US Program in developing and implementing advocacy strategies in order to seize advocacy opportunities is required.

7. Ability to think creatively about use of images, audio, data, and online tools in the presentation of findings and in advocacy is required. Demonstrated ability to think strategically about the global and local media environments and how to use the media and electronic media to further advocacy goals is desirable.

8. Experience working with communities who have suffered human rights abuses in the United States and/or Latin America is valuable.

9. Knowledge of and experience working in international human rights and familiarity with international human rights law is highly desirable, but not required.

10. Ability to articulate human rights issues effectively and persuasively, particularly with people of differing perspectives and concerns is required.

11. Strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively within HRW, as well as with external partners, are required.

12. Ability to multi-task effectively, including having good planning and organizing skills, strong initiative and follow through, and ability to work well under pressure are required.

13. Ability to make sound decisions consistent with functions is required.

Other: S/he must be willing to travel frequently and be prepared to spend extensive periods in the field.

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 welcomes applications from people of diverse racial, ethnic, religious, national, and socio-economic backgrounds, women, LGBT persons, and persons with disabilities.

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.

The US Program of Human Rights Watch works to secure increased recognition of and respect for internationally recognized human rights in the United States. While there are many human rights problems in the US, we prioritize those that arise from the exercise of the coercive, penal, or custodial powers of the government, primarily those that affect the right to liberty, and the right to be free from discrimination as well as torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; and are experienced by persons who are particularly vulnerable because of their race, ethnicity, sexual identity, national origin, immigrant status, gender, age, socioeconomic status, or alleged or actual criminal conduct, and who are likely to have difficulty vindicating their rights through the political process or in the courts.


Salary and Benefits: HRW 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.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply

How to Apply: Please apply immediately or by April 30, 2018 11:59 PM by visiting our online job portal at No calls or email inquiries, please. Only complete applications will be reviewed and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your application submission, please email Due to the large response, application submissions via email will not be accepted and inquiries regarding the status of applications will go unanswered.