Executive Director

London, UK
Closing date
13 Oct 2020

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Contract Type
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Executive Director, Rights and Security International

Application Deadline: 20 September 2020

Salary: £60,000 - 70,000 p.a.

Location: Preferably London, but other locations considered

Start date: 01 November 2020 or as soon as possible after this date

Organization Overview

Rights and Security International (RSI), formerly Rights Watch (UK), promotes just and effective security. For over three decades, initially in Northern Ireland and now globally, RSI has successfully advocated for a rights-based approach to national security, and held Governments to account for unlawful actions taken in the name of national security. Our vision is of a world that recognises that our individual freedoms are essential to our collective security.

RSI is one of, if not the only, human rights organization that is exclusively working on national security and human rights. We mobilise our knowledge and expertise, in partnership with civil society globally, to address cutting-edge contemporary issues including the weaponization of CT measures to close democratic and civil space, the use of emergency and securitized measures in response to the global health pandemic and other non-terrorism related threats, the impact of national security measures on women and children including those held in IS associated detention camps in NE Syria, the unlawful use of lethal force in the context of counter terrorism, complicity in unlawful counter terrorism actions, the proliferation of non-criminal counter terrorism measures, and transitional justice in national security contexts.

RSI carries out its work through innovative and high-quality research, strategic litigation, advocacy at the domestic, regional and international levels and collective action with trusted partners. Through its work, RSI has become a critical reference point and central hub of expertise and action on issues of national security and human rights. Our work has brought about important systemic reforms and justice for individuals, and consistently informs the work of the UN, Governments and other influential stakeholders. We have received wide acclaim for our work including receiving the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Human Rights Prize for 'outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe', the Irish World Damien Gaffney Award, the Beacon Prize for Human Rights and was shortlisted for the Columbia University Global Freedom of Expression Award for Best Legal Services 2018.

The work of RSI is becoming increasing relevant given the stark rise globally in national security measures that silence dissidents, disproportionately impact and/or target vulnerable and marginalised communities and more generally, close civic and democratic space. In parallel, the obstacles for victims to access justice have significantly increased as Governments hide behind the well-worn cloak of national security and at the same time are systematically dismantling the hard fought for protections in the form of laws, institutions and safeguards. We are now seeing this trend replicated in response to the global health pandemic and it is likely to be mirrored in the context of measures deployed in response to other crises such as climate change.

As the Executive Director of Rights and Security International, you will be leading the organization at a critical juncture as we increase our work with international partners and implement our exciting and innovative new Strategy for the coming 5 years.

Person Specification:

RSI is looking for a passionate and experienced human rights professional with a minimum of 8-10 years' experience in human rights (preferably working on issues of national security) and managing an organization or team of people. You preferably also have a post-graduate qualification in international human rights or international law or applicable qualifications or experience and more than one language is an advantage.

You should be highly self-motivated, a strategic thinker, committed to leading a relatively small but growing team of dynamic and accomplished professionals, and working with a broader network of partners. You should be confident and experienced at effectively implementing organizational strategy and overseeing the delivery of projects in a timely manner.

You should have experience of fundraising and a commitment to diversifying the funding sources of the organization in line with the organization's strategy and resource mobilization plan. You will ideally have experience of identifying and gaining funds from trusts and foundations, institutional funders and/or high net-worth individuals. You should have experience of managing budgets.

You should appreciate the wider political context within which RSI works, and be capable of keeping abreast of relevant developments, and thinking innovatively and strategically about how we can best address new challenges. You should be a confident communicator and comfortable with persuasively engaging stakeholders at the national and international levels. You must have experience of domestic and/or international advocacy. You should ideally have some experience of strategic litigation, and a proven track record of producing and/or overseeing the production of high-quality outputs. You should be committed to incorporating a gender perspective in your work.

You will ideally have experience of working with partners in a range of different countries. You should be confident in fostering partnerships, and conceptualizing and implementing joint projects. You should have a strong commitment to working in a collegiate and respectful manner with broader range of partners and stakeholders.

You should be a dedicated manager, team player, able to handle a high volume of work across a number of different areas, and committed to working in a dynamic and, at times, challenging field.

You should have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom unless you will be situated elsewhere (something that we would consider).

Application details: If you are interested in this position please send the following material to Amy van der Kleyn at akleyn@rightsandsecurity.org
  1. Your CV
  2. A cover letter which describes how you fulfil the person specification, your experience of the below mentioned responsibilities, and any other relevant information - maximum 2 pages

  • Oversee the implementation of the organisational strategy and as necessary, work with the Board of Trustees to review the Strategy
  • Oversee the implementation of the resource mobilisation strategy including identifying and pursing funding opportunities with trusts and foundations, institutional funders and HNIs
  • Manage the finances of the organisation
  • Manage a team of highly qualified professionals from different disciplinary backgrounds (law/human rights, finance, project management, communications etc)
  • Carry out effective and strategic advocacy at the international, regional and domestic levels and build effective and lasting relationships with key stakeholders
  • Oversee and ensure the quality of the organisation's work
  • Work with the Board of Trustees on issues of organisational governance
  • Work with the staff to promote the profile of the organisation including its presence on social media and more broadly
  • Be a strategic leader and thinker in the field of national security and human rights
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