Legal Officer - Jesuit Refugee Service, Bangkok

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Reports to: Country Director JRS Thailand

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international non-governmental organisation with a mission is to accompany, serve, and advocate the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people. JRS undertakes services at national and regional levels with the support of an international office in Rome. Founded in November 1980 as a work of the Society of Jesus, JRS programs are found in over 50 countries, providing assistance to refugees in refugee camps, to people displaced within their own country, and to asylum-seekers in cities and held in detention. The main areas of work in Thailand are in the fields of Education, Advocacy, Pastoral, Income Generating Activities and Social Services. In total, more than 376,000 individuals are direct beneficiaries of JRS projects.

JRS is also very much concerned with Advocacy and Human Rights work. This involves ensuring that refugees are afforded their full rights while in exile and during repatriation as guaranteed by the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and working to strengthen the protection afforded to Internally Displaced People (IDPs).

Legal responsibilities:
JRS Legal Officers represent and assist asylum seekers within the urban population in Bangkok, including those in Immigration Detention Centre.

Screen and prioritise clients for legal representation; Provide general legal counselling and assistance to asylum-seekers regarding their application for refugee status determination (RSD) before UNHCR; Prepare and draft affidavits, appeals, and other supporting legal briefs on behalf of urban asylum seekers; Prepare clients for RSD Interview Attend regular meetings and trainings with other stakeholders and NGO’s in the region, on RSD and other urban refugee related issues; Develop and foster professional relationships with other NGOs and human rights organisations in Bangkok and elsewhere.

Advocacy responsibilities:
Advocate, particularly with UNHCR and Relevant Thai Officials on salient protection issues relating to asylum-seekers, refugees, and stateless persons in Thailand. Identify legal areas appropriate for national or regional advocacy efforts. Assist the JRS advocacy officer in planning related activities. Advise and work in conjunction with the JRS office in Thailand and other countries in the region on the development and implementation of advocacy projects and initiatives, especially in providing legal input as requested/relevant. Together with the Country Director develop capacity building programmes in advocacy/ protection related issues for JRS staff in Thailand.

Minimum qualifications:
Law degree (JD, LLM, or equivalent) is required. Minimum two year experience working with or representing asylum seekers/refugees before either a national or international adjudicating body, is strongly preferred. Experience drafting client affidavits, appeals/legal briefs, and memoranda of law, strongly preferred. Knowledge or familiarity with UNHCR guidelines and procedures, an added advantage. Fluency in English, both written and oral. Ability to exercise sound legal judgment, well organised, self-motivated and reliable with a demonstrated interest in international human rights. Demonstrated compassion for refugees, asylum seekers, displaced people. Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. Demonstrated ability to work in a team as well as individually. Proficiency in other Asian languages is an added advantage, e.g. Tamil, Urdu, etc.

Starting date: Immediate.
Conditions: A two year contract with an initial three-month probationary period. Salary depends on the status and qualifications of the successful applicant. Insurance and other benefits included.
How to apply: 
Interested candidates please apply by sending your cover letter and CV (including two references) to before July 31 2012. Only short-listed applicants will be contacted.