Finance Officer

Front Line Defenders

Brussels, Belgium

The EU HRD Mechanism

A consortium of 12 international NGOs have won the contract to establish and implement an EU Human Rights Defenders Mechanism. The members of the Consortium are: Front Line Defenders, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Network (ESCR-Net), International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA), Urgent Action Fund for Women Human Rights Defenders (UAF), Protection International, Peace Brigades International (PBI), Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders (EMHRF), Forum Asia and East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP). Front Line Defenders, RSF, OMCT and FIDH will form the Board of the Consortium. In order to implement the EU HRD Mechanism the Board will recruit an independent Secretariat for the project which will be managed by a Head of Secretariat. The EU HRD Mechanism will begin operations on 1st October 2015 with a contract for 36 months.


Under the supervision and management of the Head of Secretariat and with the assistance of the other personnel employed for the purposes of HRD Mechanism coordination: the finance officer maintains the effective and accurate financial reporting systems for all the HRD Mechanisms activities. This will include ensuring that all expenditures are in conformity with the relevant EU guidelines, that records of receipts and other relevant documentation of expenditure are maintained and that the financial reporting to the EU and the relevant audit reports are delivered on time and to the highest professional standards. He/she will provide leadership in developing tools for successfully administering a consortium budget and providing financial analysis of the project's performance to inform decision-making processes. He/she will oversee the coordination of accurate reporting by all organisations participating in the Mechanism. Together with Head of Secretariat, he/she ensures development and implementation of work and expenditure plans and ensure that programmes are implemented within agreed and approved budgets through undertaking regular budget monitoring of expenditure against budget. He/she ensures that the Head of Secretariat and the Board are provided with accurate financial reports in an ongoing manner. He/she coordinates audit of the Mechanism and ensures that continuous monitoring and risk mitigation measures are in place. He/she ensures compliance with relevant legal frameworks in all contractual, financial, labour and taxation matters.

Tasks & General Responsibilities

Financial Control:
  • Coordinates the financial aspects of the multi-state, multi-year, multi-partner program in line with EU requirements and the grant contract. Develops corresponding financial procedures of the HRD Mechanism, under the guidance of the Head of Secretariat;
  • Processes the disbursement of funds in accordance with the decisions of the HRD Mechanism Board;
  • Ensures that financial management systems and records are effective and robust. Consolidates cash flows, reporting templates, financial plans and amendments throughout the project life;
  • Maintains an adequate filing system for all financial and accounting deliverables to ensure ease of access during internal/external audit;
  • Monitors budget burn rates and cash-flow projections. Recommends appropriate action on any significant variances (+/-10%). Prepares budget amendments where necessary;
  • Prepares the financial accounts for external audit and coordinates audit activities;
  • Follows up on timely implementation of the recommendations to remedy significant variances.
Financial Reporting:
  • Oversees forward planning and preparation for reporting to EU, adherence with consortium requirements and timelines, and timely submission of reports by the 12 member organisations;
  • Produces integrated financial reports on a timely basis and in line with international accounting standards and EU regulations;
  • Finalizes year-end accounts and provides any ad-hoc year reports that may be required;
  • Ensures that all consortium members submit accurate timesheets.
Financial management of Secretariat managed activities:
  • Carries out payment of salaries to Secretariat staff;
  • Ensures financial management of inter-mechanisms meetings, core group meeting, foundation meetings and consortium meetings.
Capacity Building:
  • Ensures initial communication with, and comprehension of, all consortium members regarding EU rules and regulations and how to comply with them. Puts forward recommendations when appropriate. If needed, undertakes support visit to consortium members;
  • Occasionally participates in consortium meetings to foster compliance and to address any financial issues;
  • Ensures that internal audit recommendations for grant-funded projects are adhered to;
  • Tracks lessons learned and share with consortium members throughout the project's implementation.
Ensures timely communication with management (Head of Secretariat and Core group) regarding eventual problems and possible solutions.


  • Masters Degree in Finance or Accounting or professional accounting qualification;
  • Minimum of five years of experience in a finance/accounting role preferably with an international NGO;
  • Demonstrated experience in developing and managing large budgets, with preference for previous experience working in a consortium;
  • Considerable experience of successfully managing the implementation of complex projects;
  • Experience in working on projects funded by major international donors, with preference for previous experience with EU;
  • Strong coordination/negotiation skills specifically with the ability to effectively coordinate among other partner organisations;
  • Understanding of the security and protection of human rights defenders around the world.


  • Excellent oral and written English language skills;
  • Strong financial management skills;
  • Ability to work towards tight reporting deadlines as required;
  • Strong analytical, interpersonal, communication and organisation skills.
The Finance Officer will be based in the HRD Mechanism's secretariat in Brussels. The post-holder will receive a gross annual salary of €45 080.
Applications comprising a CV with at least two references and a cover letter should be sent by email to recruit@frontlinedefenders.org by Monday 19th October. Interviews will be held in the week of 26th October in Brussels. The successful candidate will be expected to start work in November if possible. The initial contract will be for 36 months.

Overview of the EU HRD Mechanism


Human rights defenders at high risk and facing the most difficult situations in third countries, and the local actors who strive to promote and defend them, are supported by means of a worldwide, stable, comprehensive and gender-sensitive EU mechanism.
Over a period of 36 months the consortium will deliver the following activities, outputs and results with a particular focus on HRDs working in the most difficult countries and/or those who are particularly targeted including women human rights defenders, defenders of LGBTI rights, land rights and environmental rights defenders, HRDs defending the rights of indigenous peoples, minorities, people with disabilities, migrants and stateless persons, trade unionists promoting labour rights, lawyers, journalists, bloggers and others promoting fundamental freedoms, and HRDs challenging violations of economic, social and cultural rights.

Support to HRDs in the field

The Mechanism will deliver a faster and permanent EU response to support HRDs including through a 24/7 helpline and emergency grants ensuring that HRDs can access and implement urgent security measures to protect themselves, their family and their work. An EU temporary relocation programme will be established and HRDs at risk will be able to relocate inside their country, in the region or in Europe in case of urgent threat. HRD organisations have the means to implement activities adapted to changing local developments in order to advance a human rights agenda or to counter violations (including contesting laws, restrictions, sanctions and administrative provisions restricting their work).

Training, monitoring and advocacy

HRDs will receive support with capacity building including with regard to security and protection, digital security, stress management and financial and organisational management. The EU, the international community, other NGOs, the media and the public are more knowledgeable on the situation of HRDs collectively and individually. Intergovernmental institutions, international, regional and national human rights Mechanisms, influential states take action on individual cases and on legal, political and administrative provisions affecting HRDs.

Coordination and synergies

HRDs can better network and coordinate between themselves and with EU and international organisations and the coordination between HRDs initiatives and actors supported by the EIDHR is strengthened and there is greater sharing of lessons.

Outreach and visibility

The EU Mechanism will be promoted in such a way that it has high visibility and HRDs who are less well connected are able to access practical support. The HRD Mechanism will ensure the security of communications and information with regard to beneficiaries who may be at additional risk because of international support.