Terms of Reference OHCHR LGBTI Fellowship 2019


The mission of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is to work for the protection of all human rights for all people; to help empower people to realize their rights; and to assist those responsible for upholding such rights in ensuring that they are implemented.

OHCHR is guided in its work by General Assembly resolution 48/141, the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent human rights instruments, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, and the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. The OHCHR Management Plan for 2018-2021 includes commitments to strengthen inclusion and respect for diversity within OHCHR’s organizational culture.

As part of its overall work on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (trans) and intersex people, OHCHR is piloting the creation of a new Fellowship programme. In 2019, the Fellowship will be open to trans candidates. Upon completion, the experience of the 2019 Fellowship will be assessed and a decision made on the continuation / adaptation of the programme.

OHCHR recognises that trans people face violence and discrimination in all regions, that State efforts to address these human rights violations and protect the rights of trans people have lagged behind, and that trans human rights defenders have fewer opportunities to gain experience in international organizations.

In past years, OHCHR has raised awareness of human rights violations faced by trans people, advocating for the worldwide repeal of laws used to criminalize trans persons, adoption of laws recognising gender identity without abusive requirements and other measures to counter violence and discrimination directed at trans individuals, including through the UN Free & Equal public education campaign, human rights monitoring and advocacy, documenting and reporting on the human rights situation of trans persons, elaborating guidance and tools for States and other stakeholders, supporting the work of human rights mechanisms, and promoting greater integration of this issue in the work of the UN system as a whole.

The fellowship recognises the stigma and discrimination faced by trans people in their lives and seeks to raise awareness and build the capacity of trans human rights defenders with regard to the UN human rights mechanisms and the international human rights law framework protecting and promoting the rights of trans people generally.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Support the research and analysis of patterns of human rights violations affecting trans people
  • Support the implementation of the UN Free & Equal campaign by contributing to the development of public information materials
  • Support increased engagement of civil society organizations and human rights defenders working in this field with UN human rights mechanisms including treaty bodies, special procedures and the Universal Periodic Review
  • Contribute to the drafting of media releases, newspaper articles, web stories, correspondence, reports, briefing notes, talking points and speeches.
  • Contribute to the implementation of OHCHR activities related to the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people.
Contribute to the broader understanding of gender, which is inclusive of trans and gender non-conforming people, within the overall work of the Section on gender integration.

How it works

  1. The fellowship will run for a period of 7 months and will be based in Geneva, Switzerland.
  2. The fellow will be based within OHCHR’s Women’s Human Rights and Gender Section.
  3. The fellowship will be conditional on the successful candidate obtaining a visa for Switzerland. OHCHR will provide a letter to support the visa application and cover the visa fees, but the Swiss authorities decide whether to issue the visa.
  4. The fellow will receive a monthly stipend of CHF 3,800 to cover living expenses for the duration of the fellowship. (Please note that this is not a regular employment position within OHCHR and it does not lead to employment rights and entitlements beyond the terms of the fellowship).
  5. OHCHR will provide one economy class return air ticket to and from the country of residence at the start/end of the Fellowship and basic health insurance.
  6. The fellow will be required to submit a report half-way and at the end of the fellowship, detailing their experience.
  7. In 2019, the Fellowship will be open to trans identifying candidates.
  8. Requirements – The applicant:
    • Should be nominated by an organisation working on the human rights of trans people;
    • Should have 2 years’ experience working on the human rights of trans people / issues of human rights, gender identity and expression;
    • Should be fluent in written and spoken English, which will be the language of the fellowship. Knowledge of any of the other official UN languages will be an advantage;
    • Should commit to transmitting the knowledge and experience gained during the fellowship upon return to their respective organisations and/or country of residence;
    • Should be at least 18 years old;
    • Should obtain medical clearance before commencing their fellowship.
  9. Other criteria:
    • Experience and skills relevant to OHCHR’s mandate, including international human rights law, are an asset;
    • Experience with an organisation working on the human rights of trans people is an asset;
    • Special consideration will be given to geographical diversity.

Application process

  • Application forms (including part 1 by the candidate and part 2 by the nominating organisation) must be submitted no later than 5 July 2019 to this email address: 2019transfellowship@ohchr.org
  • No correspondence will be entered into with regards to the status of your application.
  • If you have not been contacted within six weeks of the deadline for applications, your application has not been successful.

Candidates must be available to attend the full duration of the programme.