Research Assistant, Open Source Research

  • Contract
  • Remote
  • TBD USD / Year
  • Salary: TBD

Human Rights Watch

FIXED-TERM, FULL-TIME JOB VACANCY

Research Assistant, Open Source Research

Crisis and Conflict Division

Multiple Locations Considered

Application Deadline: October 23, 2022

The Crisis and Conflict Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW) is seeking a Research Assistant to provide support for its open source investigations. The Crisis and Conflict Division documents, exposes, and advocates to end violations of human rights and the laws of war during armed conflicts and severe social or political unrest. We bring attention to under-reported crises, highlight the plight of marginalized people, advance rights-respecting legal norms, and press for justice to protect and promote human rights.

In many of its investigations, the Crisis and Conflict Division has worked closely with HRW’s Digital Investigations Lab (DIL), deploying non-qualitative research methodologies, such as data analysis, remote sensing, and open source techniques to our human rights investigations. The aim of this role is to bring open source research methodologies into the growing Crisis and Conflict Division, with the Research Assistant conducting open source investigations to support the division’s researchers in-person and remote conflict and crisis-related research around the world, and assisting researchers in presenting the open source findings of these investigations in clear and compelling ways.

This is a two-year fixed term position, with the possibility of extension. This position reports to a senior researcher within the Crisis and Conflict Division, based in Europe, and will also work closely with the Head of Open Source Research within the Digital Investigations Lab, based in Berlin. The Research Assistant will preferably be based in any major HRW office.

The primary functions of this role will be: 1) To use open source data and open source methodologies, predominantly (but not limited to) audiovisual analysis, in both reactive and longer-term investigations of human rights abuses conducted by the Crisis and Conflict Division in line with best practices provided by Human Rights Watch; 2) When there is a gap in projects from the Crisis and Conflict division, to work with the Digital Investigations Lab on their investigations across all research divisions of HRW; 3) To build capacity within the Crisis and Conflict division, providing training and guidance to staff in close collaboration with the Digital Investigations Lab.

Due to COVID-19, many of our global offices are currently operating in reduced capacities. The successful candidate will be required to work remotely in the interim. We recognize that this moment, during the pandemic, is a uniquely difficult time for most people, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, and we aim to be as flexible and supportive as possible in both the recruitment for and onboarding of this position.

RESPONSIBILITIES*:*

1. Conduct rigorous, secure, ethical and trauma-informed human rights investigations using open source data and methodologies in line with current best practices at Human Rights Watch. This includes both reactive as well as longer term research into human rights violations in collaboration with and at the request of HRW’s Crisis and Conflict division researchers;

2. Support Crisis and Conflict division researchers in the organization of research materials, including both open source data and interview notes, in a way that is effective and efficient for specific projects;

3. Closely collaborate with and support the Head of Open Source Research and other members of the Digital Investigations Lab to build and solidify processes in their work across other divisions of the organization;

4. Collaborate with Crisis and Conflict division researchers to develop research and investigation plans and explore strategies to incorporate open source data and research methodologies into investigations;

5. Collaborate with colleagues who conduct investigations to further expand non-traditional human rights techniques, such as remote sensing;

6. Liaise effectively with Crisis and Conflict division staff located in multiple locations throughout the world to ensure effective coordination and delivery of activities;

7. Follow best practices as set out by the Digital Investigations Lab on storing data and discovery, verification, and analysis of data, ensuring consistency across how open source research is carried out across the organization;

8. Deliver outputs in a timely manner and maintaining consistency with the agreed strategy and priorities of the division;

9. Write up findings and analysis in a concise and accurate manner, in accordance with guidance provided by Human Rights Watch;

10. Work with the Media Department to present the findings of open source investigation findings in clear and compelling ways;

11. Liaise regularly with the Digital Investigations Lab to share and exchange work plans, methodologies, and communications ideas between CCD and the Digital Investigations Lab– including by attending the DIL’s weekly meetings, feeding into the DIL’s open source work tracking, and having regular meetings with DIL team members;

12. Help other Crisis and Conflict team members to improve their open source skills by producing tutorials, giving trainings, and feeding into wider efforts to build capacity on open source techniques across the organization, in liaison with the Digital Investigations Lab;. and

12. Perform other tasks, as may be required.

QUALIFICATIONS*:*

Education: A bachelor’s degree or equivalent working experience in a relevant field is required.

Experience: A minimum of one (1) year of experience working in a similar role is required.

Related Skills and Knowledge:

1. Demonstrable experience in and knowledge of the methodologies of conducting rigorous, safe, ethical, and trauma-informed open source human rights investigations.

2. Professional experience in the discovery, verification, analysis, and preservation of digital content is essential. Interest, curiosity, and passion to learn new tools and techniques is required.

3. Experience designing and incorporating open source research methodologies into traditional research projects is desirable.

4. Experience working collaboratively with researchers working on geospatial and data analysis is desirable.

5. Demonstrable experience working with people from many diverse backgrounds who speak a variety of languages as their first language and are based across multiple time zones.

6. Previous experience working with distressing visual, audio, and written content and deploying strategies, both at an individual and organizational level, to reduce the negative impact is required.

7. A track record of working in a manner that maintains a focus on well-being.

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

9. Ability to multi-task effectively, including having good planning and organizing skills and the ability to work under pressure, is required.

10. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English is required; additional language skills are highly valued. Visual communication and design skills are highly desirable.

11. Ability to clearly communicate research methodologies and findings is required.

12. Strong initiative and follow-through, the capacity to think creatively and strategically, and excellent writing and editing skills, are required.

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

14. Experience working for an international human rights organization is highly desirable.

Other: Candidates must possess valid work authorization for the location in which they will be based; we are unable to provide work visa sponsorship for this role.

Salary and Benefits: HRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits.

***How to Apply:***Please apply immediately or by October 23, 2022, by visiting our online job portal at careers.hrw.org and attach a cover letter and resume/CV. No calls or email inquiries, please. Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

If you have difficulty completing your application submission, or if you require a disability-related accommodation to submit your application, please reach out to [email protected] Due to the large response, application submissions via email will not be accepted and inquiries regarding the status of applications will go unanswered.

Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. We actively seek a diverse applicant pool and encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply. Human Rights Watch does not discriminate on the basis of disability, age, gender identity and expression, national origin, race and ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or criminal record. We welcome all kinds of diversity. Our employees include people who are parents and nonparents, the self-taught and university educated, and from a wide span of socio-economic backgrounds and perspectives on the world. Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer.

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.

How to apply

***How to Apply:***Please apply immediately or by October 23, 2022, by visiting our online job portal at careers.hrw.org and attach a cover letter and resume/CV. No calls or email inquiries, please. Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

If you have difficulty completing your application submission, or if you require a disability-related accommodation to submit your application, please reach out to [email protected] Due to the large response, application submissions via email will not be accepted and inquiries regarding the status of applications will go unanswered.


*Closing date: 23-Oct-22