Programma Manager Human Rights Defence


Beschrijving van de vacature

The Netherlands Helsinki Committee is currently looking for a passionate and experienced human rights professional for the position of:


Programme Manager Human Rights Defence 

(32-36 h/w)


About NHC 

The Netherlands Helsinki Committee (NHC) is a non-governmental organisation that promotes human rights and strengthens the rule of law and democracy in all countries of Europe, including the Central Asian countries participating in the OSCE. Our work lies primarily in executing projects to strengthen legal protection and improve public policies that affect vulnerable or disadvantaged groups. We support human rights NGOs to withstand governmental pressure. Additionally, we work to improve the implementation of OSCE human dimension commitments and other international human rights agreements. We take active part in several civil society networks of human rights NGOs and civil society in Europe. The NHC office is located in The Hague.


We are looking for a committed Programme Manager to join and lead our Human Rights Defence programme team working to assert a positive role for human rights defenders in society and contribute to protecting defenders in selected countries of Central and Eastern Europe, South Caucasus, Central Asia, and in Turkey. The current team composition includes two Programme Officers and two Junior Programme Officers, working in close coordination with the Executive Director.



You have developed a vision on how to protect civic space from shrinking under pressure of authoritarian and non-democratic forces. You have ample experience in applying international human rights frameworks and strengthening capacities of civil society actors (including lawyers and journalists) to communicate towards their societies through campaigns and build awareness among their constituencies to ensure they can safely continue their work. You are able to translate this vision to concrete projects and advocacy campaigns, in close cooperation with (inter)national partners. Together with your team your will further implement the Human Rights Defence programme and expand it by acquiring new projects. Your responsibilities include:

  • Following (inter)national trends on space for civil society, international human rights frameworks and human rights defence;
  • Building and maintaining relations with a vast network of partners, experts, representatives of (inter)national organisations, officials and funders;
  • Developing and acquiring new projects (including writing project proposals and developing budgets);
  • Engaging in lobby and advocacy campaigns with relevant actors, including Parliamentarians and representatives of international organisations; 
  • Managing a team of (junior) programme officers;
  • Overseeing project implementation, facilitating and monitoring progress and overseeing the programme’s finances; and
  • Reporting in a timely and high-quality manner to donors and funders. 


Required qualifications and skills

  • You have at least seven years of experience with human rights and civil society work, including five years of experience managing large-scale multi-country projects. You have an active network and experience in relevant thematic areas:
  • Master degree in Human Rights/International Law, International Relations, Public Management or any other related field;
  • Proven track record of success and substantial expertise in good causes communication and high-reach digital campaigning or international advocacy;
  • Proven experience in project design and developing project proposals for private and public funders, including the European Commission;
  • Proven experience with lobby and advocacy towards different stakeholders, including politicians. Well-developed antenna for geopolitical sensitivities; 
  • Well-developed communication and coaching skills, interpersonal-sensitivity, diplomatic, a humble attitude in working with different partners across cultures;
  • An eye for detail, excellent leadership and organisational skills; 
  • Sound budget-management skills and experience in overseeing project finances;
  • Hands-on mentality, ability to adapt to a fast-paced environment and switch between tasks;
  • Excellent writing skills;
  • Excellent command of the English language. Command of Dutch highly preferred; 
  • Good command of Russian, Turkish, Hungarian, Polish or another Slavic language is an asset;
  • Strong knowledge of recent human rights trends and developments, in particular in relation to protection of human rights defenders; and
  • Knowledge of the OSCE area, East OSCE region in particular.


We offer a salary based on qualifications and experience, between €3.795 and €4.970 gross per month (based on a full-time position). This position is initially for one year, with the possibility of an extension depending on performance and availability of funding. 


If you are interested, please send your resume and a motivation letter to: . Please mention “Programme Manager: HRD Programme” in the subject of your email. For inquiries, please contact Mr. Pepijn Gerrits by sending an e-mail to the above-mentioned address. Candidates may apply until (and including) June 20, 2021.


Non-EU candidates need to have a valid work permit to be considered for this role. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Due to the high volume of applications we receive, we are unable to provide individual feedback to candidates that are not shortlisted.