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Volunteer Legal Advocates (VLAs)

About Asylum Access

We are human rights advocates who support forcibly displaced individuals and communities as they reclaim their rights, agency and power. 

Our unique combination of legal empowerment, policy advocacy and global systems change creates conditions in which refugees can live safely, move freely, work legally and go to school. Our work transforms the traditional approach of endless humanitarian handouts to a sustainable solution that honors refugees’ freedom, dignity and autonomy, and empowers them to make choices about their own lives.

Asylum Access’ global team and family of local civil society organizations advocate to make human rights a reality for refugees throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. Our national organizations are led and staffed primarily by community members in those countries, and there is strong mutual trust and respect between us and our clients. On the international stage, we work with established institutions to shift the global system to better uphold and promote refugees’ human rights. We can help catalyze and lead systemic transformation because, uniquely among NGOs in the refugee response sector, we focus exclusively on rights and governance.

 

Department Description

The Legal Team primarily provides legal services to refugees, ensuring that they have access to justice, get necessary support during the refugee status determination (RSD) process and have  information on  Long Term Legal Solutions (LTLS). The Legal Team is overseen by the Protection Program Coordinator and includes the RSD and Protection Team Leads, RSD and Protection Officers, RSD and Protection VLAs, Screening and Intake Officers, Interpreter and Paralegal Coordinator, Interpreters and Paralegals.

 

Position Description

Volunteer Legal Advocates (VLAs) provide legal advice and support to refugees seeking asylum or the assertion of other legal rights. VLAs are largely responsible for their own casework, which they see through preparation, submission and results. The position is therefore well-suited to individuals with the ability to take initiative and ownership of cases and projects, proactively follow up, manage multiple deadlines, and work effectively with a high attention to detail. VLAs gain practical experience in legal representation, client interaction, legal research, legal drafting and more. VLAs also have the opportunity to represent AAT clients at UNHCR Thailand. VLAs receive guidance and mentorship from AAT staff. 

 

After working with AAT, VLAs join a network of refugee legal advocates around the world, which provides access to job and research opportunities, information exchange and professional support. 

 

The expected time commitment is six months to one year. 

 

The place of work is Bangkok, Thailand. 

 

​​Key Responsibilities

Duties may include but are not limited to:

  • Conducting client intake and screening interviews, assessing needs, and referring to other service providers as required;
  • Advising clients on issues relating to Refugee Status Determination (RSD) before UNHCR, the National Screening Mechanism (NSM) before the Royal Thai Government (RTG), Protection concerns in Thailand and complementary pathways to other countries;
  • Drafting legal briefs and statements for clients’ cases;
  • Maintaining a high caseload in a fast paced, demanding environment while adhering to strict filing deadlines;
  • Conducting research on “country of origin” conditions and refugee law jurisprudence;
  • Developing materials for and conducting group workshops and legal information clinics;
  • Working with community interpreters and paralegals;
  • Representing AAT at events, conferences and meetings, and/or assisting in other public affairs efforts; and
  • Assisting in general administrative duties at the office.

 

Reports to: RSD Legal Officer and Protection Officer

 

Essential Qualifications

 

The following are the minimal requirements for effectively working in this position:

 

  • Interest in international human rights and/or refugee rights and/or related topics;
  • Understanding of the importance of communication and teamwork;
  • Ability to work with diverse people and groups, with cultural sensitivity;
  • Adherence to the highest ethical standards;
  • Basic working knowledge of G-mail, as well as Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Presentation and Slides; and
  • Working knowledge of English or Thai.

 

Beneficial Qualifications

 

Prior knowledge of/experience in the following areas is not essential but would be valuable:

 

  • Qualified lawyer in any jurisdiction or a bachelor’s degree in law in any jurisdiction (especially Thailand or a resettlement country);
  • Experience working in direct clients services (especially in the general human rights field);
  • Experience working with vulnerable populations (such as survivors of crime, sexual and gender-based violence, torture, trafficking, trauma, and/or those facing food insecurity, homelessness, lack of medical care and/or lack of safe and dignified employment);
  • Experience conducting client interviews, undertaking legal and country conditions research and drafting case materials for submission;
  • Ability to take initiative and ownership of cases and projects, proactively follow up, manage multiple deadlines, and work effectively with a high attention to detail;
  • Ability to carefully follow instruction at the start, successfully and promptly complete assigned tasks and quickly move towards managing own casework with limited oversight;
  • Experience working in a non-profit setting with limited resources;
  • International experience living and working cross-culturally;
  • Easy-going personality with capacity to handle living and working in an ad-hoc environment where difficult situations can arise;
  • Knowledge of additional languages (such as Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Hmong, Khmer, Tamil, Urdu, Vietnamese) 

 

Application Instructions

 

Please submit a cover letter and resume through AAT’s BambooHR application portal. https://asylumaccessco.bamboohr.com/careers/136?source=aWQ9MjI%3D

In your cover letter, please describe your reasons for applying, relevant qualifications, and how volunteering with AAT fits with your career plans. Please also state the dates you can be available.

 

Important Note

 

All VLA positions are unpaid. However, AAT provides a small stipend to cover transportation and lunch. AAT is happy to work with successful applicants to arrange for funding or school credit where available. VLAs are responsible for expenses incurred relating to obtaining their visa. AAT is responsible for government and legal service fees in obtaining the work permit only. Details and orientation on required documents and procedure will be shared with successful candidates. 

 

Asylum Access is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value the expertise of those who have experienced displacement, and encourage people with such lived experience to apply.

For more information about our organization, visit www.asylumaccess.org.

Contact : thailand@asylumaccess.org


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