Job Opening

Posting Title: Legal System Consultant [Cancelled]
Department/Office: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 14 June 2022 - 27 June 2022
Job Opening Number: 22-Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights-183731-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

• Number of contacts established with lawyers and other judicial actors
• In relation to incidents and other violations of international law identified;
• Number of meetings and interviews for which assistance was provided in terms of organizing and providing interpretation;
• Number of documents translated based on the requests submitted by OHCHR staff;
• Type of measures undertaken to ensure that communication with people in Myanmar is carried out in full respect of the “do no harm” principle;
• Number of workshops and capacity building activities supported.

Work Location

Home based

Expected duration

1 August to 31 December 2022

Duties and Responsibilities

In 2021, Myanmar went from a state of democratic transition to a country in the throes of a human rights catastrophe. In February 2021, the military attempted a coup to control government and public life. Myanmar’s elected leaders faced arrest and detention. Police and army raids to round up dissenters became a daily occurrence and thousands political detainees languish in prison. Hundreds of individuals have died in military custody while over 1,900 died from the use of lethal force to quash peaceful protests and halt opposition to military rule.

Myanmar is in a status of complete absence of rule of law. Laws have been unilaterally amended and new laws arbitrarily adopted. Restrictions on public assembly and freedom of opinion and expression have been imposed and enforced. Privacy rights and access to information have been curtailed massively with internet shutdowns and intrusive military monitoring of users’ online activities. Civil society activists and journalists are often detained, and subject to torture in detention, and hundreds are in hiding. Individuals have been prosecuted for exercising their rights, and their fair trial rights have been disregarded. Independent press and media outlets have had their operating licenses revoked or suspended. Civil society organizations have had their registrations cancelled or lapsed hampering their ability to operate.

In response to the military’s use of force, a growing number of individuals have mounted armed resistance. So-called “people’s defence forces” have popped up throughout the country. Several ethnic armed organizations have allied themselves against the military and pledged to defend protesters. Some have helped train and arm the localized “defence forces”. This resulted in the Tatmadaw escalating their use of lethal force in military operations resulting in several pre-existing non-international armed conflicts in ethnic areas reigniting. Armed resistance to these military operations has resulted in proliferating asymmetric responses including use of IEDs, targeted killings of military-affiliated officials or alleged informants.

Over half a million people have been newly displaced due to violence and the military has greatly restricted humanitarian access. Covid-19 has further compounded this catastrophic situation, as the coup, use of violence against the public, and the resultant breakdown of the public and social services sectors paralyzed vaccination efforts and the delivery of medical assistance.

The coup and its aftermath have changed the country dramatically, and the scale of the challenges now facing Myanmar require OHCHR, as well as UN more broadly, to fundamentally rethink about capacities to meet those challenges. The extent of the ongoing human rights violations and the uncertainties of the evolving context mean that the operating environment will only worsen as the crisis continues.

Against this background and following the adoption of various resolutions by the Human Rights Council imposing specific and regular reporting obligations, OHCHR is seeking to document patterns of human rights violations, with specific attention to minority communities and other groups at risk. OHCHR is also aware that this catastrophic situation underpins a number of protection risks. Therefore, while working toward the full documentation of violations in accordance with internationally recognized best practices, OHCHR operates in full respect of the principle of do no harm.

To this end, OHCHR is looking for a consultant with a thorough understanding of the human rights situation in Myanmar, its dynamics, risks, actors, and with a wide network of contacts among lawyers and other relevant actors to facilitate outreach to sources of information, including victims and witnesses. The consultants must be fully fluent in Myanmar and English languages, and possibly – but not mandatorily - in other languages spoken in Myanmar to provide interpretation for OHCHR staff. To the extent possible, consultants should possess experience in human rights work in Myanmar, in particular in terms of reaching out to sources of information while understanding possible protection risks. Consultants should also operate in a supportive role by identifying areas for further investigations, monitoring, and research on relevant bodies of international law.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: First degree in Law
Experience: At least five (5) years experience in established network of contacts among lawyers and other relevant actors across Myanmar.
Language: Myanmar and English mandatory, other languages commonly used in Myanmar are an advantage

No Fee

THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.

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