Communications Officer to Belgrade


Civil Rights Defenders is an international human rights organisation, established in 1982 and based in Stockholm, Sweden. The organisation defends people’s civil and political rights and empower human rights defenders at risk around the world.

In Europe, the organisation is co-operating closely with a number of human rights organisations, according to the Strategy for Europe 2017-2019. We also advocate for improvements in the human rights situation in Europe with a focus on the Balkans, both towards the general public and decision makers. Parallel to long-term support, we organise different events, participate in coalitions with local partners and conduct other joint advocacy and lobbying actions. Providing capacity building support and other types of assistance to human rights defenders is also part of our activities, in addition to publishing ad hoc reports on the situation in specific countries.

The Communication department coordinates the organisation’s communication and advocacy activities from the office in Stockholm. As chartered by the new communication strategy, the department is embarking on a period of development and change. To better meet the communication needs and opportunities related to Civil Rights Defenders’ work in Europe, the department is expanding its team to include a new regional position.


Area of Responsibility

The Communications Officer (CO) will be based in Civil Rights Defenders’ Field Office in Belgrade and report to the Communications Director in Sweden,  and be supervised by the Programme Director for Europe. The incumbent of this new position will be responsible for developing and implementing a communication plan for the region. This will be done in close collaboration with the communication team, members of the Europe programme teams, including a new Brussel-based Programme Officer with a focus on advocacy, and our partners. The position-holder will ensure the communication and advocacy activities are aligned with the global communication strategy and the strategy for Europe 2017-2019, in support of the organisation’s objectives and mission.


Key objectives for the function includes   

-Developing, implementing and evaluating a communication plan for the Europe programme to grow and broaden the organisation’s support base in the region.

-Strengthening the organisation’s position as source of reference on human rights related issues, recognised by media, decision-makers and other key stakeholders in Europe.

-Supporting the development of an integrated and consistent culture of communication within the organisation for increased efficiency.


Job description

Developing, implementing and evaluating a communication plan for the Europe programme. The CO will drive and coordinate the communication and advocacy activities for the current and coming year, 2018-2019, covering all countries in the region that the organisation is operational in. Guided by the global communication strategy, the main objectives of the plan shall aim to increase awareness of Civil Rights Defenders’ work in Europe, while mobilising more people in the defence of civil and political rights to further our cause.

Raising awareness of pressing human rights issues and increasing engagement in Civil Right Defenders work in Europe. The CO will contribute towards developing a relevant and engaging external communication. This involves stakeholder mapping, identifying target audiences and developing strategies to engage them. It further requires that the CO can create innovative, dynamic and strategic content and communication/public relations materials for various digital channels, integrated campaigns and advocacy across multiple platforms. Using storytelling and relying on the ability to communicate human rights issues in a clear and engaging way, using a variety of visual devices.

Strengthening the organisation’s position as source of reference on human rights related issues, recognised by media, decision-makers and other key stakeholders in Europe. The CO will proactively work to increase the placement of stories and coverage on key priority areas in media outlets in the region and, where appropriate, seek opportunities with the global and regional teams to raise the profile of “local stories/messages” more broadly. The CO will also ensure rapid response and accurate information dissemination in times of human rights violations, requiring an immediate reaction. The CO will maintain and cultivate relationships with key stakeholders such as media actors, journalists, bloggers, influencers, and develop effective messaging strategies. The CO will need to closely follow and analyse the human rights situation in Europe, keep track of local and global news agendas, emerging issues and public debates relating to Civil Right Defenders’ area of work.

Supporting the development of an integrated and consistent culture of communication within the organisation. The CO will oversee the coherence of the visual identity, involving responsibility for graphic design, including format, layout, imagery, and tonality, to ensure that the regional communication is in line with the organisation’s brand and expression. The CO will also oversee the work in ensuring a strategic planned approach to communication, while establishing and streamlining communication and advocacy tools, procedures, policies and brand standards across the Europe region. This will involve the planning and execution of capacity building and trainings for programme colleagues and partners in the region.


Other key tasks

  • Contribute to a continuous flow of content to website/social media channels and web site management.
  • Developing key messages, talking points and support colleagues with media training.
  • Events/Seminars – Represent the organisation in various external events. Also provide communication support to programme colleagues when arranging our own seminars.
  • Publications/Reports/Statements – Support in writing, research, fact-checking, editing, designing and printing, the development of complementary visual materials such as infographics and video clips, and the dissemination to relevant stakeholders.
  • Cooperation/Agencies -Build and maintain partnership relations for expanding visibility. Evaluate and oversee all marketing related agencies such as PR and Media agencies etc.
  • Possible new tasks, assessed by the management as necessary to be included in the CO position, might be added as the work develops.



  • A Bachelor degree in Communications, Media, and/or Journalism, preferably including education on digital media production/technology and international human rights mechanisms.
  • A minimum of five years working experience within any of above fields;
  • Working experience in Europe and/or Balkan, preferably with a human rights-related dimension.
  • Documented experience of NGO-work (preferably international/regional environment), project management and/or advocacy work;
  • Fluency in English (oral and written) and one Western Balkan language;
  • Ability and willingness to travel (approximately 25 – 35 working days per year) to all focus countries.


How to apply?

Submit a CV and motivation letter in English (including your salary expectations) to as soon as possible, but no later than 20.07.2018. Applications will be evaluated continuously and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. After probation period, employment agreement will be offered.