Director of the Human Rights Defenders Programme & EU Advocacy (100%)

The World Organisation Against Torture Office in Brussels is seeking to recruit a highly motivated and versatile individual, with a strong commitment to human rights, to lead and coordinate the activities of OMCT's Human Rights Defenders (HRD) Programme (80%), as well as to guide and coordinate advocacy actions towards the European Union (EU) institutions (20%).


The OMCT works with around 200 member organisations which constitute its SOS-Torture Network, to end torture, fight impunity and protect human rights defenders worldwide. Together, we make up the largest global group actively standing up to torture in more than 75 countries. Helping local voices be heard, we support our vital partners in the field and provide direct assistance to victims. Our international secretariat is based in Geneva, with offices in Brussels and Tunis.


The HRD Programme Director works under the supervision of the Deputy Secretary General of the OMCT and leads and coordinates the activities of OMCT's HRD Programme, including under the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and and develops and guides advocacy actions towards the European Union institutions.

Key responsibilities of the position include:

Leading OMCT's HRD Programme (80%)

  • Develop and steer the global policy, strategy and setting of priorities for the HRD programme and contribute to and represent the programme in OMCT-wide 4 years’ strategic plan and Annual Plan including setting priorities, balancing short term needs and long-term goals.
  • Supervise and ensure the implementation of the global activities and coordination between OMCT’s regional desks in their approach and implementation of global programme priorities / activities.
  • Lead the development and implementation of effective protection strategies for HRDs at risk, including by supervising and mentoring case work, urgent interventions, press releases, trial observations and other protective advocacy in cases involving human rights defenders.
  • Supervise and direct OMCT’s work to increase advocacy for the protection of HRD in detention through its SOS Defenders Initiative and advocacy to foster the recognition of the right to defend rights, and guide OMCT’s global support to temporary relocation of HRDs and resettlement schemes.
  • Supervise and manage visibility in relation to OMCT’s HRD work, including advocacy, social media campaigns and coalition-building around the case work both in the HRD team and the regional desks in coordination with OMCT’s Communications team.
  • Supervise the provision of financial support to third parties and individual support to HRD by the regional desks in collaboration with OMCT’s Grants team.
  • Supervise and coordinate trainings for human rights defenders and efforts to build their resilience.
  • Liaise with international and regional human rights defenders’ protection mechanisms, represent OMCT / the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in international meetings, events, forums as deemed appropriate and lead the convening of yearly inter-mechanism meetings and represent OMCT in policy discussions on HRD protection.
  • Supervise the drafting, editing and coordination of publications of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
  • Liaise with the Secretariat of and the other implementing partners to ensure the effective implementation of the project and to support OMCT’s participation in the Board of Protectdefenders and other initiatives.
  • Participate and assist with fundraising and support reporting to donors for HRD protection work and projects in collaboration with the Development team and regional desks.
  • Establish and maintain good donor relationships for global programmatic projects and have final approval of narrative reports submitted to donors.
  • Lead the planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning (PMEL) activities for the HRD programme and global projects based on OMCT’s PMEL approach in collaboration with OMCT’s PMEL adviser.

EU Advocacy (20%)

  • Guide and coordinate advocacy actions towards EU institutions.
  • Represent OMCT in meetings at the EU as deemed appropriate.


  • University degree in human rights, international relations, law, political science, or related field, a post graduate degree being an asset.
  • At least seven years of relevant work experience in the human rights sector, with direct work on human rights defenders' protection, at the national and/or international level, preferably with civil society organizations.
  • Excellent knowledge of international human rights law and demonstrated knowledge of the UN procedures and regional mechanisms for the protection of human rights.
  • At least 3 years of previous work experience in team management.
  • Excellent knowledge of relevant EU entities and experience in advocacy towards the EU.
  • Excellent drafting and editing skills, experience working on reports to United Nations mechanism or human rights and advocacy reports.
  • Ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines and to adapt to multidisciplinary work in the environment of a multicultural team.
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Excellent oral and written English. Knowledge of other languages (French, Spanish, or Russian) will be an asset.


  • Leading Teams: ability to lead and manage a team, including achievement of team goals.
  • Inspiring and Motivating: ability to inspire and motivate team members to achieve their potentials and; to create a positive and engaging work environment
  • Team Collaboration: track record of fostering a collaborative and inclusive team culture; and ability to maintain positive working relationships colleagues across the organization.
  • Effective Communication Skills: strong verbal and written communication skills; ability to actively listen; ability to adapt communication styles based on needs and stakeholders.
  • Strategic Thinking: ability to think strategically and make informed decisions that align with the organization's goals; proven experience in developing and implementing effective strategies.
  • Adaptability: willing to adapt to change as well as lead teams through it constructively
  • Conflict Resolution Skills: ability to address and resolve issues within the team in a timely way through coaching, setting clear expectations and adhering to standards of positive workplace behaviour
  • Decision-Making Competence: ability to weigh risks and benefits to determine the best course of action, ability to demonstrate sound judgment and making informed choices.
  • Organizational Skills: experience in creating and implementing organizational systems that enhance performance efficiency; ability to meet deadlines and delivering high-quality results, while organizing and prioritizing tasks effectively


OMCT is an equal opportunities employer.

The range for the monthly gross salary for this post is between 4’300 and 5’100 EURO (times 12 months). OMCT offers a minimum of 20 days holidays from the first year of employment, usual social benefits including meal vouchers, and the possibility for part-time working from home. Employed at 100%, employees may profit from the flexible working hours regime according to Belgium labour legislation.

The OMCT will also provide a thorough onboarding process to be able to get familiarized with OMCT tools, process, projects, etc.


Applications comprising a motivation letter and a CV should be addressed to OMCT International Secretariat with the subject “Director of the HRD Programme”, by email to

Starting date: as soon as possible

Deadline for the applications: applications must be received by 26 May 2024.