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Policy Adviser

Requisition ID:  19183
Region:  Europe (HQ)
Contract type:  Max term contract

Reports to (role)


Head of Arms and Conduct of Hostilities Unit

What we do


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works worldwide to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict and armed violence. We take action in response to emergencies and at the same time promote respect for international humanitarian law. We are an independent and neutral organization, and our mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. We work closely with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and with their International Federation in order to ensure a concerted, rational and rapid humanitarian response to the needs of the victims of armed conflict or any other situation of internal violence. We direct and coordinate the international activities conducted in these situations.



The Arms and Conduct of Hostilities Unit is part of the Legal Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The Unit leads the development and implementation of ICRC legal and policy positions, strategies and activities aimed at reaffirming, clarifying and developing International Humanitarian Law (IHL) rules protecting civilian against the effects of weapons and hostilities.


This includes promoting the faithful implementation of treaties prohibiting or regulating weapons, means and methods of warfare, and safeguarding humanitarian protections for people affected by armed conflict or by weapons of concern. In response to humanitarian concerns witnessed in ICRC field operations, such as those raised by urban warfare, or which may result from new developments in weapons’ technologies, the Unit proposes the development of new rules or standards related to the conduct of hostilities and to weapons of concern. The Unit maintains bilateral discussions with government and military representatives, as well as other stakeholders. It represents the ICRC and promotes its position in multilateral fora, policy debates and negotiations, expert groups and academic settings.

Purpose of the position


The objective of this position is to develop the ICRC’s role in coordinating the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the Movement) work on weapons and conduct of hostilities issues, in particular on nuclear weapons and/or urban warfare.



  • Internally, interacts with relevant colleagues, heads of units and divisions at headquarters and in the field, including in particular in the Legal Division, the Communication Department, the Division on the relation with the Movement, etc;
  • Externally, interacts primarily with Movement partners in Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies and their International Federation, as well as with other stakeholders such as governments, UN representatives, civil society representatives, academia, think tanks, civilian and military research centres and the media. 

Main Duties


  • Understands and adheres to the seven Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement;
  • Understands and adheres to the ICRC Code of Conduct;
  • Understands the roles of the components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement;
  • Respects and observes staff regulations and security rules at all times;
  • Represents the ICRC in a professional manner at all times;
  • Develops and maintains a pleasant and conducive working environment with colleagues and line managers;
  • Performs all duties with the highest level of confidentiality in the interest of the employees and the ICRC;
  • May be asked to perform tasks not covered in this job description and to provide support to other departments when necessary.

Main Responsibilities


Depending on the specific profile and expertise of the candidate, the Adviser will focus on the developing the ICRC’s role in coordinating the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the Movement) work on nuclear weapons or on urban warfare:


  • Manage and coordinate the implementation of the relevant Resolutions and Plans of Action to be adopted at the June 2022 Council of Delegates on nuclear weapons or on war in cities;
  • Convene and chair regular meetings of the relevant Movement Support/Reference Groups;
  • Provide guidance and support to National Societies for the implementation of the Movement Plans of Action and their national strategies and plans on nuclear weapons and war in cities;
  • With the relevant Movement Support/Reference Group, develop common strategies, plans and initiatives for engagement in different groups of States; in particular, identify key partners among National Societies to promote the Movement policy positions;
  • With the Movement Support/Reference Groups, oversee the planning and organization of global, regional and national workshops for National Societies to build capacity and promote the implementation of the Movement Action Plan, and represent the ICRC in such workshops;
  • Research, analyze, present and create arenas for discussions about the ICRC’s and the Movement’s work on nuclear weapons or war in cities.

Communication and Advocacy


  • In close collaboration with the communication department, develop and coordinate the implementation of an ICRC communication and advocacy strategy on nuclear weapons or war in cities, including by anticipating public communication opportunities presented by forthcoming events, development, and content control of new communication products, and preparing reactive communication pieces for National Societies;
  • Promote research findings and Movement positions and policies through a range of material, methods and tools (Movement newsletters, internal communication, web promotion, etc.);
  • Promote ICRC’s views and positions in a variety of fora, including the International Conference and the Council of Delegates, meetings of experts, conferences, training seminars, etc.; to initiate and organise such discussions and meetings as appropriate and represent the ICRC in negotiations; Coordinate the reporting on Movement Actions Plans, and lead the drafting of new documents for the 2023 Council of Delegates and International Conference;
  • Maintain a sophisticated understanding of the global policy environment on nuclear weapons or war in cities, and anticipate emerging trends that may impact the Movement’s work and framework;
  • Maintain and develop the ICRC network of multidisciplinary experts and organisations, primarily among National Societies, but also government, civil society and other relevant stakeholders;
  • Contribute to institutional thinking;
  • Spread knowledge of and promote Movement positions in international forums, among diplomats and academics specialising in this field, and with the media, and to participate in training of ICRC staff;
  • Carry out any other tasks on other weapons and conduct of hostilities issues, as may be assigned on an ad-hoc basis.

Education and experience required


  • Master or other post-graduate degree in international relations, international law, development studies or other relevant subject;
  • 7 to 10 years’ experience in humanitarian diplomacy, advocacy, and mobilisation.  Experience from humanitarian disarmament an asset;
  • Solid understanding of international law, notably international humanitarian law and in-depth knowledge of nuclear weapons, urban warfare and/or humanitarian disarmament;
  •  Experience in multilateral work on weapons and conduct of hostilities issues;
  • Proven experience in formulating and/or implementing law and policy initiatives;
  • Strong track record in shaping and communicating law and policy;
  • Proven experience in writing and publishing;
  • Experience from work with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement a strong asset;
  • Experience in organizing and managing expert meetings, workshops or other events, in person and on-line, an asset.

Skills and Qualifications


  • Excellent drafting and presentation skills, with an ability to analyze and summarize complex policy issues with rigour and speed;
  • Excellent ability to communicate with diverse, lay and expert audiences, especially to present complex issues clearly and concisely;
  • Ability to represent the ICRC, in particular by exchanging in an autonomous and efficient manner with Movement partners;
  • Openness to dialogue and good interpersonal skills;
  • Proven ability to work in a multidisciplinary team;
  • Perfect command of spoken and written English; passive working proficiency of French; other languages (Spanish, Arabic, Russian or Chinese) an asset.

Additional information


  • Location: Geneva
  • Type of contract: CD-Max
  • Duration of assignment: 6 months, extendable for another 12 months
  • Grade: C2
  • Activity rate: 80-90% (TBD)
  • Estimated start date: 1st July 2022 (TBD)
  • Application deadline: Sunday, the 29th May 2022


The ICRC values diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive working environment. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates.