Back to top

Head of EU Office

Front Line Defenders, The International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders is seeking an exceptional candidate to lead the organisation’s EU Office in Brussels, Belgium.

The Head of EU Office is responsible for developing and implementing advocacy and lobbying strategies on behalf of human rights defenders at risk towards EU Institutions and Member States at central and field levels, with the aim of achieving tangible impact and ensure the issue of the protection of human rights defenders (HRDs) remain in the EU agenda.

The successful candidate will have significant previous experience of human rights work and an excellent knowledge of EU institutions. They will have ideally previously worked on the issue of the protection of human rights defenders and civil society space, and have demonstrated strategic thinking. They will be able to work with people from different cultural backgrounds. Excellent written and oral communication skills in English and French are required and knowledge of additional working languages of the organisation (Arabic / Russian / Spanish) is an advantage.


Advocacy development and implementation

  1. Lead responsibility for building and sustaining relationships with key individuals within the EU Institutions, EU Member States and like-minded countries, promoting the work of Front Line Defenders and the issue of HRD protection;
  2. Develop and implement advocacy strategies on behalf of human rights defenders at risk which lead to effective action on their behalf;
  3. Promote the effective, practical implementation of the EU Guidelines on human rights defenders and other instruments like the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, e.g. through field workshops, lobbying for local strategies. Identify new policy initiatives where relevant;
  4. Monitor developments at EU and Member State levels that could impact on Front Line Defenders' work and respond as appropriate;
  5. Coordinate visits to Brussels and other capitals of human rights defenders in order to make their voices heard, promote their case as well as the organisation's broader work;
  6. Identify actions in new areas of EU policy where HRD protection can be incorporated, such as trade, development, investment, business and human rights, etc. in collaboration with colleagues.


  1. Develop further Front Line Defenders' public profile, including through participation to campaigns on long-term cases, social networking and media work;
  2. Actively participate in meetings with key decision-makers and represent Front Line Defenders at events as appropriate, in order to present the work of the organisation and the need for protecting human rights defenders;
  3. Liaise with other NGOs as appropriate, and build relevant alliances.

Organisational and staff management

  1. Overall responsibility over the drafting, implementation and assessment of EU Office strategy and action plan; participate in the development of the multi-annual strategic plan of the organisation;
  2. Manage the EU Office, including contacts with payroll office, bank, landlord, suppliers, insurance company, and lead responsibility for payment of invoices and salaries;
  3. Draft quarterly EU Office activity reports; keep track of expenses in view of detailed financial reporting to Dublin-based Finance Officer – in due time;
  4. Set objectives and targets for Advocacy Officer; provide supervision and guidance, and conduct appraisal of his/her performance on a regular basis;
  5. Lead the monitoring&evaluation of the EU Office work, in coordination with the Monitoring&Evaluation team, and ensure adequate recording, reporting and follow-up of all programme activities;
  6. As member of Front Line Defenders management team, contribute to the collective management of the organisation and to increased cross-programme collaboration and integration.

Support to fundraising

  1. Sustain contacts with the European Commission and other EU-based funders where relevant; help find other avenues for funding, including by providing advice on the drafting of funding proposals relating to EU Office activity;
  2. Promptly respond to requests for information, including statistics on case work, coming from the Development team in view of reports to funders.

The post reports to Front Line Defenders’ Deputy Director, based in Dublin-based Head Office.

Applications, comprising CV and cover letter in a single pdf file named ‘[surname]_[name]_Head EU Office’, should be addressed to Andrea Rocca, Deputy Director at

The closing date for applications is 4 March 2020. Please indicate the full title of the position (Head of EU Office) in the subject line of the email, or the application may be missed.

Front Line Defenders is an Equal Opportunities Employer and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.

Front Line Defenders offers a competitive salary in line with Brussels-based international NGOs.

In providing protection and support to human rights defenders, Front Line Defenders and its staff are committed to:

  • focus on the primacy and centrality of defenders;
  • demonstrate profound respect and empathy for defenders;
  • meet the needs expressed by the defenders in a fast, flexible and relentless manner;
  • achieve tangible impact;
  • act with independence, impartiality and integrity;
  • perform with dedication, professionalism and accountability;
  • show transparency and openness;
  • develop participative and cooperative relations.