Vacancy for Project coordinator and researcher


Safeguard Defenders (SD) is a decentralized pan-Asian human rights organization that undertakes and supports local field activities that contribute to the protection of fundamental human rights, promotes the rule of law, and enhances the ability of local civil society and human rights defenders in some of the most closed political environments in Asia. It also undertakes field research and releases cutting-edge reports and briefings, and utilizes such reporting as the basis for both long-term campaigning and short-term targeted campaigns.

Safeguard Defenders has core staff and partners spread across East and Southeast Asia and includes teachers, lawyers, independent media, and small-scale civil society organizations. It is a registered foundation with head offices in Madrid, with a small executive leadership. As a growing organization, the position offers a great degree of flexibility in contributing to Safeguard Defenders’ overall strategic and programmatic development.


A fluent Mandarin speaker with strong English skills (reading, writing, and speaking) is being sought for a position combining small project coordination, research, translation (English/Chinese), and managing communication with beneficiaries in China.

The position is full-time and can be based remotely with the understanding that flexibility in working hours will be necessary for adjusting to the time zones of other colleagues in weekly coordination and work management meetings.

The person selected for this position will be partnering with one person who carries a similar set of work duties, within a central management team of 6-7 people, spread between East Asia and Europe.  


The work duties will include, but not be limited to:

  • Performing online and interview-based research on topics related to human rights, Chinese law, and Party/State operations, for example, researching relevant statistics on conviction rates at trial of first instance, or locating which government body handles extradition claims with foreign governments, or find victims of certain types of rights violations.
  • Handle translation and/or editing between Chinese and English language, both for internal work procedures and documentation, but also for public releases.
  • Handle outreach to, and communication with, local partners, victims of rights violations, and rights defenders and CSOs in China, as well as with Chinese language media globally.
  • Small project management, where you will support local activists in implementing small projects, including handling bookkeeping, financial management, and continued controlling that projects are implemented as per plan, which means continuous communications with local staff, and comparing implementation to set plans, and making recommendations to correct any deviations.



What is essential is that you have the ability and experience in carrying out high-quality research with attention to detail, preferably with a track record of working on Chinese law and human rights issues. You must be able to thrive in what can best be described as a ‘start-up’ environment. You will be given considerable space to take initiative to pursue projects of interest, research subjects of interest, and to some degree shape the focus of the work carried out within this position. Taking initiative and working independently are thus of great importance.

The pace of work is high, and the expected work outputs are equally high. The ability to take initiative and get things done to tight deadlines is key.

Only candidates with experience working in the human rights field concerning China will be considered; experience living in and working on human rights issues in mainland China is preferred, but not essential.


Proven experience and/or knowledge in the following is a bonus:

  • Experience working with domestic or international media and/or other public-facing communication output
  • Proficiency in IT security
  • Experience in project management or administrative management
  • Knowledge of China’s State and Party organs and their functioning

Applicants should be aware that taking this position will mean you will likely no longer be able to travel (safely or at all) to mainland China (and possibly Hong Kong) and so must therefore be based in a safe location.


Email application to:

Interested candidates should send a one-page (maximum) cover letter explaining your interest, why you think you would be able to do this job, along with contact information of two references. A writing sample, CV, or other application material may request at a later stage. The interview process may involve a skills-based written test of sorts in addition to panel interview(s).

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