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Assistant Legal Officer/ Individual Contractor
UNHCR Armenia Office
07 Sep 2021

Assistant Legal Officer/ Individual Contractor

Company: UNHCR Armenia Office
Location: Remote/ work from home, Armenia
Duration: 3 months
Start Date: Immediately
Deadline: 21 September 2021

TERM: 

Full-time

JOB DESCRIPTION: 

Overall Purpose and Scope of Assignment:
Building on the commitment of the Government of Armenia to further improve the international protection system in Armenia, UNHCR Representation in Armenia is seeking a local Individual Contractor to review and assess the current legislation, practice and institutional capacities related to state-funded legal aid for asylum-seekers and other persons of concern to UNHCR. The Contractor will undertake a comparative analysis of existing legal framework, administrative practices and established procedures vis-à-vis relevant international and regional standards as well as good practices and models used in other countries. Additionally, based on a methodology to be developed by the Contractor in consultation with UNHCR, the Contractor will undertake an evaluation of the quality of state legal aid and suggest recommendations on addressing the gaps in a systematic and sustainable manner. The outcomes of the study to be finalized by 31 December 2021 will include a set of clear, practical, and reasonable recommendations for improving the national system of state legal aid in the Republic of Armenia. These recommendations will form the basis for developing proposals to amend national legal framework, as a part of the commitment expressed by the Government of Armenia to undertake a comprehensive review and reform of the refugee protection legislation. Through participating in discussions and presenting outcomes of the study, the Contractor will contribute to the efforts of UNHCR in promoting the results of the study and building the capacity of relevant stakeholders at all levels.

Monitoring and Progress Controls (report requirements, periodicity, format, deadlines):
- A comprehensive desk-review of the national legal framework, practices, and institutional set-up and capacities in the area of state legal aid for asylum-seekers and other persons of concern to UNHCR as well as of the relevant international standards and best practices;
- Meetings/ interviews with key state and non-governmental stakeholders;
- 1 report (in English) outlining the current legislation, practice, institutional set-up and capacities in the area of access to and quality of legal aid for asylum-seekers and other persons of concern to UNHCR, the main drawbacks as compared with the relevant international or regional standards as well as good practices in other countries, key challenges and the recommendations to address those;
- Presentation of outcomes of the study to relevant stakeholders;
- Preparation of a draft action plan on the implementation of the recommendations of the study.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS: 

Required level, qualifications and work experience:
- Level of responsibilities required: Local Professional Level;
- Postgraduate or undergraduate qualification in Law;
- At leat 3 years of experience in the legal profession;
- Excellent research and drafting skills;
- Excellent knowledge of English and Armenian languages; knowledge of Russian language is an asset;
- Experience in the field of refugee status determination procedures, asylum law and human rights is desirable.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES: 

Applicants are invited to fill in the online application. The vacancy is posted on the external UNHCR website and applicants who do not have internal status must apply through the external UNHCR website. Application and instructions are provided on www.unhcr.org - Careers - Vacancies - Armenia. No late applications will be accepted. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and invited for an oral interview. UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview, processing or any other fees). For any technical problems encountered during the on-line application, please contact the Global Service Desk at: globalsd@unhcr.org well before the deadline to allow sufficient time for problems to be resolved. For any other type of support, please contact the HR Unit at: armyehr@unhcr.org .

Please clearly mention in your application letter that you learned of this job opportunity through Career Center and mention the URL of its website - www.careercenter.am, Thanks.

REMUNERATION/ SALARY: 

Fees of the individual contractor may be linked to the local UN salary. For information on UN salaries please visit the portal of the International Civil Service Commission at: http://icsc.un.org. To determine the fee, the contractor’s earnings over the past year for similar work will be reviewed. Payment schedule: The payment will be executed in two tranches, the first one to be paid upon submission of a first draft of the contract deliverable (report) of a satisfactory quality, and the remaining amount to be paid upon satisfactory completion of the whole assignment.

OPEN TO/ ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: 

Candidates must meet the essential minimum requirements of the position and candidates not citizens of the country must comply with all eligibility requirements for employment in line with the prevailing legislative prerequisites in the country. *UNHCR or other UN retirees may be hired under a contractor contract, if at least three months have elapsed since the date of retirement, including early retirement. **A contractor contract may not be granted to a person who is the father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister of a staff member of UNHCR.

INTENDED AUDIENCE: 

UNHCR is committed to diversity and welcomes applications from qualified candidates regardless of disability, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, race, colour or ethnic and national origins, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.

ADDITIONAL NOTES: 

- Title of the Project: Assessment of Access to Legal Aid for Asylum-Seekers in Armenia;
- Purpose of project: To review and assess the system of state-funded legal aid for asylum-seekers and propose recommendations;
- Location(s) (specify if working from home): Working from home;
- Assignment and/ or mission travel are not applicable.

CONSENT
The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity. According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term "sexual exploitation" means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term "sexual abuse" means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. The term "sexual harassment" means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator's working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.

ABOUT: 

Operational Context:
Armenia ratified the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol (hereinafter jointly referred to as the 1951 Convention) in 1993. The current Law on Refugees and Asylum of the Republic of Armenia was adopted in 2008 and extensively amended in 2015 bringing the legal framework further in line with international standards. UNHCR supports the authorities of Armenia with development of fair and efficient asylum procedures. Access to legal assistance at all stages of the asylum procedures is an important element in establishing fair and transparent refugee status determination procedures and strengthening the quality of decision-making. It can assist in the identification of international protection needs of applicants by helping them put forward all the information relevant to their refugee claims, as well as discourage the submission of false claims by dispelling misguided or exploitative information, and thus contributes to the efficiency and expediency of the process.
In the past few years, a number of asylum-seekers have expressed concern regarding their access to legal aid and the possibilities for an effective remedy in Armenia. The Law on Refugees and Asylum and the Law on the Profession of Advocates provide for free legal assistance for asylum-seekers through the Office of the Public Defender (PDO) under the Chamber of Advocates of Armenia. However, initial assessments have identified a number of legal, capacity and operational constraints reportedly hindering the effective exercise of this right. At the stage of first instance asylum procedures, legal aid is limited to provision of information and counselling only while legal assistance and representation are to be available at the stage of appealing negative asylum decisions. In practice, legal representation at the first instance procedures is available in a limited number of cases and only when it is provided by the UNHCR partner NGO. Moreover, due to serious systemic constraints, such as the heavy workload and limited experience in asylum cases among PDO staff, also the lack of interpretation services, serious challenges have been reported as regards the access to and quality of legal aid.
The 2019 Programme of the Government of Armenia and the 2021 Concept on State Management of Migration express a commitment to further strengthen the international protection system and improve the refugee protection legislation.
Under the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement Between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Armenia, of the other part, the parties have agreed to cooperate in the area of the development and implementation of national legislation and practices as regards international protection, with a view to satisfying the provisions of the 1951 Convention and other relevant international instruments, such as the European Convention on Human Rights, and to ensuring respect for the principle of non-refoulement.
Given UNHCR’s mandate and role in Armenia, global experience as well as its fruitful and longstanding relationship with the authorities of Armenia, it is planning to undertake a study to assess whether current law and practice regarding the provision of legal aid in Armenia are in line with regional and international standards. This study therefore represents a first review and analysis of the legal framework and practice related to the provision of legal aid to asylum-seekers in Armenia. As a result of the study, a report will be produced.

ABOUT COMPANY: 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a humanitarian and non-political organization mandated by the United Nations to protect refugees and help them find lasting solutions to their problems. UNHCR's activities are based on a framework of international refugee and statelessness law and standards that includes the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions, as well as an array of international and regional treaties on human rights and humanitarian law. The mandate of UNHCR is the international protection of refugees and stateless persons. The provision of international protection by UNHCR implies ensuring the basic human rights of refugees and stateless persons. UNHCR has presence in the Republic of Armenia since 1992, under a Co-operation Agreement signed with the Government. UNHCR's work in Armenia presently concentrates on capacity-building activities geared towards strengthening national authorities, laws and policies to ensure the proper handling of refugee and statelessness issues, the reception and care of refugees, the promotion of self-reliance of refugees and the realization of durable solutions. These are carried out in combination with other activities such as advocacy, information dissemination and monitoring. The internship shall give an opportunity to familiarize the intern with all of UNHCR protection activities with a focus on statelessness.