American Bar Association
The ABA Center for Human Rights’ (the Center) Justice Defenders Program is seeking a contracting organization/individual with expertise in issues related to one or more of the following: support for Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) such as lawyers under threat, women HRDs, environmental defenders, labor rights defenders, and journalists; judicial independence; freedom of expression and assembly; supporting marginalized and most vulnerable groups; and independence of the legal profession. Particularly, the Center is looking for organizations/individuals with experience in mobilizing the legal and human rights defense community to enable and protect at-risk HRDs.
The Center, in collaboration with the selected organization, seeks to provide technical legal assistance to HRDs as well as to protect the rights of HRDs. The organization should have experience understanding these issues both under international and law in the Eurasia region.
The Center aims to incorporate innovative strategies to engage the legal sector, development agencies, and/or business sector to defend human rights defenders and civil society space, to promote labor rights and improve labor conditions, and to end impunity for rights violators.
Proposals must include a methodology that identifies how (1) support will be provided to HRDs at risk in Eurasia to end, mitigate, or prevent reprisals against them for exercising their professional duties and (2) advocating for laws, policies, and practices that provide or reinforce effective protections for the independent functioning and safety of HRDs in Eurasia in accordance with internationally recognized human rights laws and standards, including the proper functioning of sanctions related mechanisms.
This is an approximately four-month consultancy beginning on around March 2024 and ending on or around June 2024, with the possibility of extension subject to funding. The selected organization will selected cases, conduct research, and produce a report on various forms of state retaliation against HRDs and civil society actors working in Eurasia. The organization will also identify potential advocacy routes to engage domestic and international actors.
• Identifying potential cases to engage with for the Center under the Justice Defenders Program
o Monitoring human rights situation and keeping the Center informed on any and all developments
o Identifying potential cases and preparing short case memorandum summarizing facts, legal issues, and why potential intervention of the Center under Justice Defenders is not redundant
o Identifying gaps in assistance as provided by others and ensuring there will be access with selected HRDs, local partners and other relevant parties
o Gathering information and conducting research relevant to the selected cases
o Implementing administrative processes to sustain connections with relevant parties in identified cases
• Conducting advocacy
o Identify and execute advocacy strategies for the HRDs’ cases with stakeholders including, but not limited to: UN mechanisms, regional human rights bodies, corporate accountability NGOs, and governments
o Organizing advocacy events on the cases in collaboration with the Center such as roundtables or strategic litigation workshops/trainings
o Participating in/organizing meetings with representatives from various local or regional non-profits, inter-governmental and governmental bodies, international organizations, etc. to advocate and push forth the Center’s recommendations on various calls to action
• Monitoring and Observing Trials
o Monitoring previously approved trials in accordance with international standards and the ICJ
o Finding and working with appropriate independent/objective monitors and training them if required
o Submitting notes on the trial in a timely fashion in addition to writing and drafting a final report to be reviewed and approved by the Center
• Research and Produce Reports and/or Papers
o Prepare, draft, and submit reports to the Center on one or more of the following topics: support for HRDs; freedom of expression and assembly; supporting marginalized and most vulnerable groups; the Rule of Law; and independence of the legal profession
o In coordination with the Center, prepare a distribution strategy for each report and conduct follow up advocacy for these reports with specific next steps that could include but are not limited to:
Advocacy activities targeting specific bodies, e.g. EU bodies, OSCE departments, UN bodies (UN Special Rapporteurs)
Distributing the report(s) to engender dialogues with t he relevant regional or international bodies and/or organizations working on similar issues/matters
Organizing public events presenting the findings in the reports that the Center publishes
Working to ensure media coverage/buy-in of the published report(s) via blogs, social media, articles, and other relevant activities
• Submitting and editing a legal pleading:
o Prepare an executed draft of a legal pleading to relevant, international institutions that outlines remedies for Human Rights Defenders in the Eurasia region. Prepare communications/products to respond to various inquiries/follow ups following the submission of said legal pleading.
o In line with revisions on the legal pleading drafts provided by CHR staff, add relevant jurisprudence, restructure the sections, and adjust framing/language. Follow up with key contacts, defense counsel, local partners and any other relevant individuals on issues relating to the legal pleading that remain unclear. Fully cite, fact check, and cite check the legal pleading in compliance with the ABA/CHR publication policy that will be provided to the consultant.
• Providing legal analysis and strategic advice:
o Provide legal analysis and strategic advice to human rights defenders (HRDs) in up to 3 cases of criminal or misdemeanor proceedings related to their advocacy, including but not limited to cases related to their exercise of freedom of expression, association, and assembly. Contractor will assist in preparing a human rights-based legal narrative for the defense of HRDs facing frivolous criminal charges and determine what, if any, additional mentoring, networking, or additional support is needed.
• Sanction mechanisms drafting and writing:
o Assistance in drafting sanctions nomination packets, public reports, and/or solicitations for investigations by various law enforcement bodies.
o Participation in calls among stakeholders related to strategic litigation and sanctions.
• Based in Eurasia or possess a strong and demonstrated professional network in the region, including on-the-ground activists dedicated to defending human rights/HRDs
• Demonstrated experience supporting HRDs, freedom of expression and assembly, marginalized and vulnerable groups, the Rule of Law, and/or the independence of the legal profession, particularly in Eurasia
• Excellent knowledge of UN and OSCE human rights standards
• In-depth knowledge of human rights monitoring and reporting methodology and practice
• Experience of designing and implementing projects, tools, or instruments to enhance the protection of HRDs is preferred
• Demonstrated gender awareness and sensitivity, and an ability to integrate a gender perspective into tasks and activities
• Familiarity with international supervisory mechanisms, such as the ILO is preferred
• Ability to independently draft a report according to ABA standards
• Ability to communicate in Russian is preferred
How to apply
Please send the following documents in a single PDF to [email protected] and CC [email protected] and [email protected] by 02/27/2024 at 5pm EST.
• Statement of interest detailing your experience working on related projects, and your availability through June 2024. (Maximum 1 page)
• Business resume/CV or relevant one-pager
• Proposal on approaches and methodologies for undertaking the above outlined responsibilities
• Cost estimate (per deliverable) for each of the responsibilities listed above
Deadline: 27 Feb 2024