The four key responsibilities of a Head of Human Rights

The four key responsibilities of a Head of Human Rights

If you have experience in the complex world of human rights, then you are likely to be in high demand. The Head of Human Rights role is increasingly viewed as a key appointment for large corporations, and we have seen a sharp rise in the number of requests from our clients to assist them in their search for someone to take a lead on this fast-growing area of compliance.

In Germany, it is already a legal requirement for all companies with over 3,000 employees to have a Head of Human Rights as a full time, permanent employee - and we expect the rest of the EU to follow suit, in due course.

The role of the Head of Human Rights is both multi-disciplinary and demanding, requiring a deep understanding of human rights principles and standards and experience in both legal and compliance - as well as strong leadership, communication and advocacy skills.

What are the main responsibilities?


The primary responsibility of a Head of Human Rights is to ensure that the organisation or institution they represent upholds human rights principles in all its actions and decisions. This includes ensuring full compliance with national and international human rights laws and standards, as well as developing and implementing policies and procedures that promote and protect human rights.

Internal Communication

The Head of Human Rights is responsible for promoting greater awareness within their organisation; providing education and training to staff, as well as advocating for the integration of human rights principles into all aspects of the company’s work.

Stakeholder management

The post-holder will also regularly engage with external stakeholders, including human rights organisations and government bodies, to ensure that the organisation's activities are aligned with the broader human rights agenda. This includes advocating for policy changes and reforms that promote human rights.

Managing violations

The Head of Human Rights plays a critical role in responding to human rights violations that occur within their organisation or its sphere of influence. This involves investigating any allegations, taking appropriate remedial action and ensuring that victims of any abuse are provided with the right support and fair compensation.

If you are considering hiring a Head of Human Rights or would just like to understand more about the current recruitment market, please contact Adam Bond for a friendly chat.