Re-advertisement - Legal Specialist

Location : Colombo, SRI LANKA
Application Deadline :15-Jul-14 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Management
Type of Contract :Service Contract
Post Level :SB-4
Languages Required :
Duration of Initial Contract :One year


Candidates who previously applied need not apply again.

The Senior Human Rights Advisor (SHRA) Unit is a component of the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator and is responsible for: (1) providing advice, technical expertise, situational assessments and analyses on human rights issues to the UN RC and the UN Country Team in Sri Lanka as well as OHCHR, the UN Human Rights Mechanisms (Charter and Treaty based) and, when requested and appropriate, other UN agency headquarters or UN Secretariat departments; (2) building the capacity (trainings and other) of the UN CT to integrate a human rights based approach into ongoing and envisaged humanitarian, recovery and development work of the UN; (3) supporting the UN CT in convening relevant working groups on human rights and protection issues; (4) support and/or undertake relevant projects, as is appropriate and possible on human rights issues. The other key functions of the SHRA Unit is to undertake technical cooperation on projects agreed between OHCHR and the Government of Sri Lanka to strengthen the national protection system and support the government’s efforts to meet national and international human rights obligations. Finally, provide the Government of Sri Lanka, the UN RC, UN Agencies and civil society as well as other actors with information about international human rights standards and mechanisms and comparative information on effective initiatives in other countries.

Duties and Responsibilities

Summary of key functions:

Under the supervision and direction of the Senior Human Rights Advisor, the consultant will provide legal expertise related to human rights standards and obligations in all areas of the aforementioned functions and responsibilities of the SHRA Unit.

Function / Expected Results

  • Monitoring the human rights situation and providing legal advice, analysis, and assessments;
  • Drafting reports, briefing notes, thematic papers, and talking points on current and new developments to guide and inform the work of the UN as it relates to Sri Lanka, including the SHRA, UN RC, UN Agencies, OHCHR in Geneva and NY, UN Secretariat bodies (OLA, DPA, and others) as is appropriate;
  • Conducting research on new legislative developments related to human rights, as required;
  • Periodically conducting and/or participating in field visits for/with the SHRA Unit to meet with government, UN, and civil society stakeholders;
  • Acting as legal focal point for UN RC’s office, UN CT, OHCHR and OLA on certain human rights/legal matters for UN staff; Providing specific trainings to and facilitate workshops for UN stakeholders in Colombo and field offices, as required, on the UN Human Rights Mechanisms, national and international human rights legislation and obligations as it relates to the work of the various UN agencies;
  • Acting as a focal point to ensure that key human rights issues are understood by UN CT members and are mainstreamed into the work of the UN CT’s humanitarian, recovery and development programmes;
  • Briefing visiting UN actors on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka;
  • In the absence of the SHRA, participating in the UN CT meetings and all other UN-related forum;
  • Providing legal support to all relevant, ad-hoc projects undertaken by the SHRA Unit.


Core Competencies
  • Demonstrating/safeguarding ethics and integrity;
  • Demonstrate corporate knowledge and sound judgment;
  • Self-development, initiative-taking;
  • Acting as a team player and facilitating team work ;
  • Facilitating and encouraging open communication in the team, communicating effectively;
  • Creating synergies through self-control Managing conflict;
  • Learning and sharing knowledge and encourage the learning of others;
  • Promoting learning and knowledge management/sharing is the responsibility of each staff member;
  • Informed and transparent decision making.

Required Skills and Experience


  •  Master’s degree in law with a specialization in international human rights law;
  • A Bachelor’s Degree  with seven years’ experience will also be considered in the absence of  a Master’s Degree.
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience working in the field of human rights law; In-depth knowledge of the Sri Lankan legal system and customary law and its relevance to international standards and obligations;
  • Substantive knowledge of Sri Lanka’s political history as well as experience working with the country’s national protection system;
  • Experience working with the UN Human Rights Mechanisms (charter and treaty based);
  • Experience working in the UN System is highly desirable;
  • Extensive experience working with (or in) civil society organizations;
  • Good computer skills, notably in Word and Power Point.

Language Requirement:

  • Fluency in spoken and written English and Tamil/Sinhala;
  • Knowledge of  Tamil language will be  a distinct advantage.

Open to Sri Lankan Nationals only.

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

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