World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) is an international non-governmental organisation representing and promoting approximately 70 million deaf people's human rights worldwide.

The WFD is a federation of 132 nations; its mission is to promote the human rights of deaf people and full, quality and equal access to all spheres of life, including self-determination, sign language, education, employment and community life.  The WFD has a consultative status in the United Nations and it is a member of the International Disability Alliance (IDA).

The WFD Secretariat is located in Helsinki, Finland; its website is

The WFD is seeking a Human Rights Officer (HRO) as a maternity leave substitute to be commenced on 1 December 2015 until 31 October 2016. The HRO is part of the WFD Secretariat, currently composed of three other salaried staff members, and the position reports directly to the WFD Team Leader and is supported by the WFD Human Rights Group.  Following experiences, skills and qualifications are required from a successful applicant:


  1. Knowledge and experience in the use of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) and deaf people’s human rights, including the reporting system and work of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee).

  2. Previous work experience in human rights, development, or closely-related fields.

  3. Experience in designing and conducting training workshops to deaf people in International Sign.

  4. Experience in drafting letters, reports, statements, submissions and project applications.

  5. Proven experience of budgeting principles and financial management.


  1. Understanding of the United Nations Human Rights Treaty Body system, with specific focus on the UN CRPD.

  2. Knowledge of how to put into practice the UN CRPD and other international human rights law at the national level.

  3. Ability to liaise and network with colleagues, organisations of persons with disabilities, national governments and various partners in a multicultural environment.

  4. Excellent communication skills including one or more national sign language(s), International Sign, high level written English, and the ability to use a sign language interpreter in meetings. Knowledge of other written languages, such as Spanish, is an asset.

  5. Highly developed interpersonal skills including conflict resolution, liaison and negotiation skills.

  6. Excellent leadership skills.

  7. Self-motivated and ability in initiating action, do forward planning and meet deadlines.

  8. Ability to carry out tasks and make decisions independently.

  9. Extensive experience in writing reports and submissions.

  10. Budgeting and project planning skills.



To be considered for the position the candidate should have a solid background in human rights and preferably possess a Master’s Degree in Law, Social Sciences or other relevant discipline.


The HRO will undertake networking, liaison, research, resource development and training to bring about attitude change, create and disseminate knowledge, and build the capacity of both the WFD and national associations of deaf people across the globe. This will include the sharing of information between national deaf associations, the WFD Secretariat, the UN and International Disability Alliance (IDA); responding to various inquiries and preparing comments, statements and guidelines for the UN and IDA; and meeting with relevant stakeholders.

The second role of the HRO will be to train the deaf leaders and advocates based in national associations of the deaf in the chosen project target countries, create visual training materials and conduct training in a “deaf-friendly” way in International Sign. 

The position requires traveling (to conduct training in low-to-middle-income countries and to attend sessions of the UN CRPD Committee in Switzerland) and commitment to work from time to time also on weekends.

Preference given to those able to relocate, at their own expense, in order to work from the WFD office in Helsinki, Finland. The position does not offer compensation related to relocation and establishment costs for a successful candidate who needs to relocate in order to assume the position.


Please send:

  • A Curriculum Vitae

  • A letter of interest, in which you outline your experiences, skills and qualifications for the position

  • Three letters of reference from professional contacts

Salary expectations may be mentioned in the letter of application but the final salary is determined by the project budget. For further enquiries, or to apply, please email Ms Meri Hyrske-Fischer, Team Leader: by Thursday, 24 September 2015 at 17.00 (Finnish time). All application materials shall be written in English.

 Shortlisted candidates’ interviews are expected to be carried out via Skype on 7-9 October 2015 and the successful applicant is anticipated to start on 1 December 2015.