Call for application: Fellowship Programme of the OHCHR Humanitarian Funds (starting as of 15 April 2020)

The aim of the Fellowship programme is to give two staff members and affiliated members of human rights organisations, notably those working on issues related to torture and/or contemporary forms of slavery, the opportunity to gain first-hand experience, knowledge and skills in the field of international human rights in general, and on torture and contemporary forms of slavery in particular.

This Fellowship Programme is supported by the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery and the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (thereafter ‘OHCHR Humanitarian Funds’), which are Voluntary Funds aimed at providing direct assistance to victims of torture and of contemporary forms of slavery, respectively. The Fellowship Programme is managed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The programme is designed for individuals supported by their organizations, who are committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and the process of development and implementation of international human rights law and standards, in particular in the field of torture and contemporary forms of slavery.

Through this programme Fellows will gain working-level experience with the United Nations human rights system and with OHCHR’s work on torture and contemporary forms of slavery. Upon completion of the fellowship, it is expected that Fellows will return to his/her supporting organization and thereby strengthen the organization’s capacity in the protection and promotion of human rights.

The Fellows will be assigned to the Secretariat of the Humanitarian Funds, located in the Human Rights Treaties Division of OHCHR. The Fellowship Programme will start as of 15 April 2020. Pending availability of funding, after an initial period of two months and taking into account the interest, motivation and performance of the incumbents, the fellowship may be renewed up to two years, until 31 March 2022.

The Fellows will contribute to the work of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Torture and the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery through:

  • Evaluating and analysing projects applications and liaising with applying organizations ;
  • Conducting substantive research and analysis of developments concerning torture and contemporary forms of slavery in specific countries ;
  • Reviewing, recording and compiling information on best practices and lessons learned for projects funded by the Funds;
  • Preparing materials to enhance the visibility of the two Funds (website, brochures, etc) and assisting in fundraising efforts;
  • Attending the annual sessions of the Funds’ Boards of Trustees and contributing to the work of the United Nations Treaty Bodies.

The Fellows will receive periodic briefings and training on the human rights system and relevant thematic issues in accordance with modules developed for this purpose.


The candidate should have extensive knowledge and working experience on human rights issues, in particular in relation to torture and/or contemporary forms of slavery.

Knowledge of the United Nations system will be considered as an asset.

The candidate should have at least 2 years of professional experience in a human rights organization and/or related field. He/she should be fluent in English and French/or Spanish. Knowledge of another UN official language (Arabic, Chinese, Russian) is an advantage.

The candidate should preferably have experience in and/or knowledge of forms of direct assistance, including legal, medical, psychological and social.

Candidatures from staff working for organisations, which are grantees of the OHCHR Humanitarian Funds, are admissible.

Candidates should also have a supporting letter from their organizations and be committed in imparting the knowledge and experience obtained during their fellowship to colleagues upon their return.

The Fellows will receive financial support from OHCHR in the form of a monthly stipend during the programme to cover their living expenses (about 4000 CHF per month). Flight expenses and health insurance costs will be covered.

Selection process for 2020

Candidates should submit their application directly to OHCHR by 1st December 2019 at the latest by e-mail :, followed by postal mail to the following address :

United Nations Humanitarian Funds – OHCHR – Palais Wilson – Rue des Paquis 52 – 1201 Geneva CH – Switzerland

The Secretariat of the Humanitarian Funds will select two applicants and share these recommendations with the Funds’ Boards of Trustees. The Secretariat of the Humanitarian Funds and Boards of Trustees will make the final selection of the two candidates. Selected and non-selected candidates should be notified by email by 1st February 2020.

The programme will start on 15 April and will terminate on 31 December 2020, with possible extension.

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Contact information

United Nations Voluntary Fund on Contemporary forms of Slavery,
OHCHR-UNOG, 8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneve 10,
Tel: (41) 22 917 9376
Fax: (41) 22 917 9017