Join Human Rights Watch (HRW) & Work Remotely as a Deputy Director (Program Lead), Technology and Human Rights: Apply!!

Deputy Director (Program Lead), Technology and Human Rights
Technology Division
Multiple Locations Considered
Application Deadline: April 23, 2024

The Organization

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international human rights research 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. We have more than 550 staff in more than 50 countries.

HRW’s mission is as urgent as it has ever been, and it faces a complex scenario. Major geopolitical shifts are converging with multiple challenges, including the climate crisis, longstanding and growing inequality, and resurgent authoritarian populism. These are occurring in a time of rapidly advancing technologies that greatly impact societies, states, and economies worldwide. Our ability to respond effectively to these global human rights challenges requires an understanding and analysis of how technology impacts human rights. We must highlight the human face of technologically facilitated harm and work with partners to promote rights-respecting conduct, standards and laws for governments, international organizations, and the private sector.

The Opportunity

HRW is seeking a Deputy Director (Program Lead) to lead our Technology and Human Rights work and to manage the staff who focus on this work within the larger Technology Division. The Deputy Director will serve as our organizational lead on the human rights impacts of technology and help shape cross-organizational initiatives on such work. This involves overseeing, supporting, and guiding a team of three experienced senior researchers (the “Tech Team”) within the division to:

  • investigate uses of technology that facilitate human rights abuses and advocate to ensure effective protections from such abuses; and
  • facilitate, collaboratively shape, and support work on technology and rights across HRW’s other regional and thematic divisions and its Advocacy department.

The Tech Team’s work focuses on three key domains where technology has significant repercussions for rights everywhere:

  1. The Digital Public Sphere, with work that includes challenging data exploitation and other threats to democratic institutions and healthy civic spaces, particularly in the context of elections;
  2. The Digital State, with work on: (a) ending tech-driven repression and exclusion in law enforcement and migration contexts, including via surveillance; and (b) ensuring the automation of essential public services protects socio-economic rights; and
  3. The Digital Economy, with work on ending labor rights abuses in the app-based “gig” economy, and other forms of tech-facilitated labor exploitation.

Across all this work, the team aims to advance norms, laws, and regulations that increase transparency and accountability around how technology is used by governments, companies, and international organizations.

In addition to overseeing the Tech Team’s own investigations and advocacy, a key part of the Deputy Director’s job will be to navigate relationships and provide policy advice and support as technology-related rights issues arise in the work of other parts of HRW, including in other thematic programs and regional divisions, and develop joint work with other parts of the organization in ways that mobilize regional and thematic expertise.

The Deputy Director should be a strong, collaborative team player committed to building and establishing the Tech Team within the broader Division and supporting the Director of the Division. They should also be a persuasive communicator and advocate with a deep knowledge of technology-related challenges and an eye for emerging issues. They are expected to play an important role in representing HRW on such issues externally, with partners, businesses, governments, the media, and donors.

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The Deputy Director should be a strong manager who can oversee the Tech Team’s day-to-day work and motivate and supervise its staff. This involves setting priorities, supervising work plans, editing products, pursuing innovation while upholding the highest research standards, fostering staff wellbeing, promoting diversity and inclusion, and ensuring the security of staff, information, and partners. It also involves, in conjunction with the Technology Division Director, further developing the Tech Team’s strategic plan in line with the organization’s global strategic goals, focusing on areas where HRW has strong added value, and including clear theories of change so the work translates into positive impact for rights-holders.

The Deputy Director reports to the Technology Division Director and will preferably be based in one of HRW’s offices, but other locations will be considered.

The successful candidate may have the option to work remotely but would be required to attend a variety of meetings at HRW offices as required. We aim to be as flexible and supportive as possible in both the recruitment for and onboarding of this position.


  1. Provide leadership, strategy, vision, and priorities on issues pertaining to technology and human rights for the Technology Division in collaboration with the Division Director and spearhead the implementation of the Tech Team’s strategies in collaboration with a team of motivated and experienced researchers, experts and advocates, with a strong focus on impact;
  2. Collaborate with the Tech Team and the Division Director to innovate and implement new processes and structures for facilitating work on technology and human rights, ensuring they are applicable across the Division;
  3. Collaborate with relevant internal and external partners to oversee and develop research, advocacy, and communications plans, including social media and multimedia production, on the impacts of technology on human rights. Ensure that plans include clear goals and benchmarks, and that they align with the broader strategic plan and programmatic priorities of the Tech Team and organization;
  4. Foster and strengthen meaningful and equitable partnerships and lead our collaboration in the human rights and technology space;
  5. Act as a senior spokesperson and liaise with external actors to advocate on the work of the Tech Team. This includes representing HRW and its work on technology and human rights to companies, governments, and other institutions;
  6. Collaborate with the Division Director and the Development Department on fundraising, providing requested information and draft reports to donors in a timely manner, promoting the work of the Tech Team and Technology Division, and actively soliciting and following up with potential new donors to achieve program-specific fundraising goals;
  7. Respond to and/or anticipate relevant news events to frame developing news stories through a human rights and technology prism, advise senior management on effective responses and advocacy, and project a human rights perspective into coverage of developing technology and rights related news events globally, regionally, and nationally;
  8. Develop and implement along with the Division Director a monitoring and evaluation framework for the division’s work on technology and rights;
  9. Work closely with all departments and divisions to ensure operational effectiveness, efficiency, and impact; and
  10. Perform other tasks, as may be required.

Managerial Responsibilities:

  • Provide day-to-day management and leadership of the technology and human rights work and work collaboratively with the team in addressing challenges and opportunities globally;
  • Work with the Division Director to allocate, monitor and report on the Tech Team financial budget;
  • Lead, motivate, develop, and mentor direct reports by communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely constructive feedback, ensuring balanced workload, and supporting professional growth;
  • Promote an inclusive and positive work environment including by soliciting diverse points of views, encouraging staff to participate in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, and proactively addressing bias and discrimination; and
  • Provide appropriate and timely feedback on the staff the Deputy Director supervises on performance and provide guidance, coaching and training, as necessary.

Candidate Profile

The successful candidate will be a thoughtful, collaborative, authentic and strategic leader with deep knowledge, expertise and experience working on a diverse range of human rights issues related to technology. They should have at least 7 years of relevant experience in international human rights or related work, including strategic planning and project development, research methodologies and investigations, reporting, and advocacy, plus relevant management experience, preferably including managing down, up, and across teams.


We are eager to hear from candidates who can perform the essential functions of this role even if they do not meet all of our desired qualifications – particularly if they are from backgrounds underrepresented in the NGO, media or tech sectors.

Education: A graduate degree or equivalent work experience in a relevant field is required.

Experience: A minimum of seven (7) years of experience in international human rights, investigative journalism, or related work, including strategic planning and project development, investigations, reporting, and advocacy, including four years’ experience in managing teams. This should include substantial experience working on human rights issues related to technology.

Related Skills and Knowledge:

1. Demonstrated knowledge of human rights issues related to technology, including the threats and complexities posed by new and emerging technologies and the role of technology in the major human rights challenges of our time is required.

2. Recognized management experience, ideally including experience supervising a distributed team of experienced professionals from varied disciplines and experience managing laterally across teams is required.

3. Experience conducting, overseeing, or reviewing complex investigations into technology-related harms, such as experience overseeing interview-based research or reporting or technical analyses is required.

4. Experience developing legal, policy or grassroots approaches to stop or mitigate current or prospective tech-related violations and their structural causes, and that harness the power of technology to promote human rights is desirable.

5. Strong commitment to understanding how technology can impact the rights of women and other specific populations, such as racial and ethnic minorities, children, older people, people with disabilities, people living in poverty and low-wage workers is desirable.

6. Demonstrated experience developing innovative bodies of work and crafting ambitious multi-year strategies and implementation plans is required. Experience in integrating monitoring and evaluation is desirable.

7. Ability to present and defend complex technology-related issues and positions to officials in governments, companies, and other bodies and institutions is preferable.

8. Ability to explain technical systems to non-technical audiences from a human rights perspective, to explain the human rights principles and impact of technologies to technical audiences, and to translate strategically between the two groups is required.

9. Familiarity with how technology and non-traditional research methodologies can be used to document and expose human rights violations is desirable.

10. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English is required, and knowledge of one other commonly spoken language is desirable.

11. Proven understanding of how to engage with news media and cultivating relationships with journalists is desirable.

12. Strong interpersonal skills to work collaboratively within HRW, as well as develop constructive relationships with NGO partners, and company and government officials are required.

13. Demonstrated awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations is required.

Salary and Benefits: HRW offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits. HRW offers relocation assistance package and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply. If based in the United States, the salary range would be USD 121,000 – 133,000. Salary ranges outside of the United States vary based on location.

If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your application submission, or if you require a disability-related accommodation, please email [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.

For more opportunities such as this please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, What’s App, TwitterLinkedIn and Telegram

How to apply

Please apply by April 23, 2024, by visiting our online job portal at and submitting a cover letter and CV or resume. No calls or email inquiries, please. Only complete applications will be reviewed and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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