About Freedom Now:

Freedom Now is an international non-governmental organization that protects individuals and communities from government repression and defends human rights through direct legal support, targeted high-leverage advocacy, and capacity-building analysis and assistance. Since 2008, Freedom Now has systematically sought to end arbitrary detention by providing pro bono legal representation to nearly 200 prisoners of conscience and victims of human rights violations throughout the world. Alongside this legacy casework, we engage in campaigns and initiatives to combat oppressive laws and corrupt institutions that are a direct threat to civil society and democratic norms. For more information about our work, please visit our website at www.freedom-now.org.

During the 2021 summer, Freedom Now became engaged in the situation in Afghanistan, putting its resources and expertise to use to aid individuals in need of evacuation and resettlement. Freedom Now intends to continue these efforts and expand its human rights work in neighboring countries. For many years, Freedom Now has engaged in human rights advocacy in Central Asian countries, with a dedicated program focused on challenging authoritarianism and seeking redress for human rights violations committed by those governments. The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has dramatically impacted the freedom of the people living there, and the growing humanitarian crisis will bring significant hardship and affect the stability of the region. Freedom Now recognizes a significant need both inside and outside of Afghanistan, and seeks to direct resources towards this effort.

Position Details: 

Freedom Now is seeking a full-time Program Officer to support its work in Afghanistan and Central Asia, and to help further develop expertise in the broader region. Our work in Afghanistan is of considerable urgency since the US evacuation, and it is expected the person in this role will initially be primarily dedicated to our efforts to help evacuate and resettle Afghan citizens. The Program Officer will play a central role in managing and coordinating this effort, which will involve developing advocacy initiatives alongside our Advocacy Director and refugee application assistance alongside our Legal Officer. The Program Officer will also assist in ongoing efforts to address systemic human rights violations in the region.

Successful candidates will be knowledgeable about the political landscape and human rights situation in Afghanistan and neighboring countries, including Pakistan, Iran, and Tajikistan. Applicants who are fluent in Dari and Pashto languages are strongly preferred. The individual will be collaborative and passionate about advancing human rights and the rule of law through programmatic and advocacy efforts. Experience in working in diverse coalitions is essential. The ideal candidate will be a unique and creative thinker who thrives in an environment where a premium is placed on effective problem solving, communication, tenacity, and adaptability.

This position will ideally be staffed in Washington, DC, with full remote work still being conducted until further notice. The salary for this position is $60,000, including benefits, such as generous paid leave and flexible working arrangements. This position is fully funded for two years. Additional extensions will be contingent on performance and availability of funding. The Program Officer will report to and work closely with the Program Director.

Interested candidates should submit a CV along with cover letter, three references, and an appropriate writing sample to khorberg@freedom-now.org by October 12, 2021. Applications submitted without these materials will not be considered. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and the position will be filled once a suitable candidate has been selected, which may occur prior to the deadline. Freedom Now is looking to fill this position as soon as possible. Due to the high volume of applicants, please understand we will only be able to follow-up with individuals who have been selected for an interview.

Position Responsibilities:

Act as primary manager for Afghanistan program, which includes, but is not limited to, the following activities:

  • Maintain up to date information on events in Afghanistan and neighboring countries, including political developments and relevant human rights issues;
  • Conduct interviews and maintain regular contact with Afghan citizens in need of assistance;
  • Monitor and report on developments related to refugee resettlement and help support temporary settlement efforts in transit countries;
  • Assist in the preparation of refugee and visa applications to the US, Canada, and elsewhere;
  • Liaise with staff, partner organizations, government officials, and law firms to collect and disseminate information regarding Afghan nationals seeking resettlement and other relevant issues in need of attention;
  • Develop and help leverage additional resources and relationships for purposes of achieving goals;
  • Identify and facilitate impactful advocacy initiatives necessary to achieve goals; and
  • Prepare timely, high quality, and impactful advocacy and communications materials as necessary, including briefing papers, talking points, government and organizational sign-on letters, in-depth thematic reports, opinion articles, blog posts, and press releases.

Assist in other programmatic activities, with an emphasis on South and Central Asia:

  • Research and catalog human rights abuses;
  • Maintain awareness of political developments in countries of focus;
  • Assist in political and public relations advocacy efforts, including building and maintaining relationships with members of the government and the press;
  • Draft advocacy materials, including opinion articles, press releases, briefing papers, congressional testimony and letters, and in-depth thematic reports;
  • Liaise and coordinate efforts with NGO partners, including local, regional, and international organizations; and
  • Assist with administrative tasks as needed and fundraising activities related to project-specific initiatives.

Required Skills and Experience: 

  • At least an undergraduate degree, with graduate or law degree preferred;
  • Familiarity with the historical, social, and political landscapes of Afghanistan and the region;
  • A minimum of three-five years of professional experience with an organization engaged in human rights or humanitarian work;
  • Fluency in Dari and Pashto language strongly preferred;
  • Experience with synthesizing complex information;
  • First-rate project management skills;
  • Exceptionally strong communication, research, writing, and editing skills and the ability to turn around high-quality work quickly;
  • Experience with developing and implementing advocacy strategies and mobilizing campaigns;
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team, communicating effectively with colleagues and a diverse group of partners;
  • High levels of ambition, energy, dynamism, and determination;
  • Excellent instincts, judgment, and a collaborative spirit; and
  • Eligibility to work in the United States required.

Though a small office, Freedom Now is committed to creating a diverse and supportive work environment for our employees, volunteers, and partners. Freedom Now does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, gender expression or identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, socio-economic status, political affiliation, or any protected characteristic.