Data Scientist

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OHCHR - Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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Application deadline 6 months ago: Thursday 19 May 2022 at 00:00 UTC

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This is a UNV International Specialist contract. This kind of contract is known as International UN Volunteer. It is normally internationally recruited only. More about UNV International Specialist contracts.

The digital revolution has had a profound and in many way positive impact on human existence. For billions of people, digital technologies touch upon more and more of their social interactions. In the digitally connected parts of the world, the public square has moved online, especially through social media. While the benefits of the digital revolution are unquestionable, new risks keep emerging. Investments in mass surveillance are being revealed; organized disinformation campaigns are disrupting elections and public discourse. Harassment and censorship online silence millions.

The conflict in Ukraine has witnessed an intensification in these trends. In the context of the conflict, attempts have been made to persuade multistakeholder groups such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to limit access to the internet. Cyber-attacks have targeted civilian digital infrastructure and services, resulting in partial or complete shutdowns of access to the internet. Profound and worrying changes to the regulation and moderation of online content have taken place. Other online hostilities have taken the form of propaganda, influence operations, and online attacks on human rights defenders. UN Human Rights has a role to play to take on this global challenge by scrutinising regulations of the internet, as well as business models and content moderation policies of social media companies, analysing digital surveillance architectures, and investigating cyber and influence operations, as well as online attacks against human rights defenders. UN Human Rights also engages in efforts to mitigate reprisals against those who cooperated, cooperate or seek to cooperate with the UN system on human rights.

To inform this effort, as well as support its broader work on monitoring and investigation of human rights violations, analysis, assessment, and early warning, UN Human Rights is expanding and strengthening its work in the following areas: • Development of research frameworks and data mining and analysis methods. • Development of guidance. • Development, compilation, and use of human rights indicators and data. • Targeted training, coaching, and advice on data, technology, and cyber risk management. • Implementation of the digital components of thematic projects. • Horizon scanning to identify risks and surface opportunities. • Analytical inputs into thematic reporting on human rights challenges.
• Development of data and technology partnerships.

UN Human Rights works closely with peace operations, UN departments such as DPO and OCHA, UN Country Teams, UNESCO, UNDP, UNOG, regional organizations, government institutions, professional associations, and NGOs. The UNV role is located in the Methodology Education and Training Section (METS), part of the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures, and Right to Development Division of UN Human Rights. METS, among other areas, provides digital services to OHCHR units and offices helping them to meet needs at the nexus of methodology, user experience design, data, technology, and cybersecurity.

Within the delegated authority and under the supervision of Technology Advisor of the Methodology, Education and Training Section (METS), the UN Volunteer will contribute to the following tasks: • Conduct research in support of human rights monitoring, including of trends in civic space online, with a particular focus on Ukraine and the parties to the conflict, including data on developments regarding the regulation and policies/practices in the moderation of online content, attempts to influence the governance of the internet by state parties, and online hostilities including cyber-attacks, internet shutdowns, influence operations and online attacks on human rights defenders and other vulnerable or protected groups; • Support staff conducting human rights monitoring and investigations with digital risk assessments and mitigation measures, capture and preservation of online content, content verification and provenance analysis, as well as mapping and due diligence of appropriate technology tools and methodological inputs to improve associated workflows; • Assist in the exploration, identification, and acquisition of data sources to determine their suitability for use in OHCHR monitoring of trends in civic space online, including through the use of relevant human rights indicators; • Assess the provenance and accuracy of new data sources and data gathering techniques; • Enable broader use of data sources by applying quality methods to structure, clean, format, parse, and standardize for analytical use, including indicators development/compilation; • Coordinate with the Information Management and Technology Section to on-board datasets into OHCHR’s common data environment; • Contribute to the design and develop data science products to reveal insights, in support of OHCHR monitoring of human rights, via the application of advanced analytical methods such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics, data and text mining, natural language processing, indicators and statistics, and use of relevant algorithms and computational approaches; • Provide data and other technical services towards the production of communications, analytical and advocacy materials, including data reports, dashboards, other customized visualization and presentation products, blogs and data stories; • Contribute to knowledge management in the substantive area of work, including the development of methodological guidance and learning materials, as well as contributions to UN communities of practice, online and in-person; • Help with occasional administrative tasks when needed; • Assist with programme and other reporting; • Perform other related duties as required.

Results/Expected outputs: As an active OHCHR team member, efficient, timely, responsive, client-friendly and high-quality support rendered to OHCHR and its beneficiaries in the accomplishment of her/his functions, including: • Contribution is made towards improving the methodology for monitoring human rights situations, including online civic space and with specific focus on Ukraine; • Documented support to the production of digital risk assessments, the capture and preservation of online content, content verification and provenance analysis, as well as mapping and due diligence of appropriate technology tools and methodological inputs to improve associated workflows; • Accurate analytical reports are produced and submitted on time; • New data sources identified, assessed and integrated to possible indicators to advance the monitoring of civic space online; • Production of learning, guidance, communications, analytical and advocacy materials, including data reports, dashboards, other customized visualization and presentation products, blogs and data stories; • Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD) perspective is systematically applied, integrated and documented in all activities throughout the assignment; • A final statement of achievements towards volunteerism for peace and development during the assignment, such as reporting on the number of volunteers mobilized, activities participated in and capacities developed.

• Professionalism • Teamwork • Creativity • Technological Awareness • Genuine commitment towards the principles of voluntary engagement, which includes solidarity, compassion, reciprocity and self-reliance; and commitment towards OHCHR’s mission and vision, as well as to the UN Core Values.

a field related to open source intelligence gathering, data mining or computational social science; • Experience of data science tools such as Jupyter, Matlab, or similar Statistical Programming Languages such as Python or related is required; • Ability to work and adapt professionally and effectively in a challenging environment; ability to work effectively in a multicultural team; • Self-motivated, ability to work with minimum supervision; ability to work with tight deadlines.

Living conditions in Geneva are generally good. Practical information about living in Geneva can be found here:

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