American Bar Association (ABA ROLI)

ABA CHR Justice Defenders Program-Organization Consultants (South/East Africa)

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Last update: Mar 4, 2024 Last update: Mar 4, 2024


Deadline: Mar 7, 2024 Deadline for applications has passed
Location: Africa
Job type:Contract, up to 4 months
English English
Work experience:Min 6 years
Date posted: Mar 1, 2024


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Justice Defenders Program at the ABA Center for Human Rights (the Center) is seeking a contracting organization based in Southern or East Africa with expertise in one or more of the following thematic issues: support for Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) such as lawyers under threat, women HRDs, environmental defenders, labor rights defenders, activists and journalists; judicial independence and independence of the legal profession; freedom of expression and assembly; support of marginalized groups, such as indigenous, LGBT, and other members of vulnerable minority groups. Particularly, the Center is looking for organizations with experience in mobilizing the legal and human rights defense community to enable and protect at-risk HRDs who face retaliation for doing their work. 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 and understanding of these issues under international, regional, and national law.

The Center aims to incorporate innovative strategies to engage the legal sector, development agencies, and/or business sector to defend the protectors of human rights and civil society space, promote labor rights and improve labor conditions, and end impunity for rights violators. Proposals must include a methodology that identifies how (1) advocacy and/or technical support will be provided to HRDs at risk in Southern or East Africa 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 accordance with internationally recognized laws and standards. We are specifically interested in proposals dealing with the following thematic issues: independence of judges and lawyers, reprisals against HRDs, and restrictions to civic space including restrictive NGO laws introduced under the guise of anti-terrorism/anti-money laundering measures.

This is an approximately four-month consultancy beginning on or around March 6th, 2024, and ending on or around June 2024, with the possibility of extension subject to funding. The selected organization will select cases, conduct research, and produce a report on various forms of state retaliation against HRDs and civil society actors working in the Southern or East Africa region. 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
    • Monitoring human rights situation and keeping the Center informed on any relevant developments
    • Identifying potential cases (up to five cases) and preparing short case memorandum summarizing facts, legal issues, and why potential intervention of the Center under Justice Defenders would be recommended
    • Identifying gaps in assistance as provided by others and ensuring there will be access with selected HRDs, local partners and other relevant parties
    • Gathering information and conducting research relevant to the selected cases
    • Implementing administrative processes to sustain connections with relevant parties in identified cases
  • Conducting advocacy
    • 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
    • Organizing advocacy events on the cases in collaboration with the Center such as roundtables or strategic litigation workshops/trainings
    • 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
    • Monitoring previously approved trials in accordance with international standards and the ICJ
    • Finding and working with appropriate independent/objective monitors and training them if required
    • 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
    • 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
    • Facilitate translations of work into Portuguese, French, or other relevant regional language , which will be covered by the Center upon prior approval
    • 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), AU, ACHPR special mechanisms)
      • Distributing the report(s) to engender dialogues with the 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


  • Based in Southern or East Africa or possess a strong and demonstrated professional network in the country/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 South or East Africa
  • Excellent knowledge of UN, National Bar Association, AU, ACHPR, and OSCE human rights standards
  • In-depth knowledge of human rights monitoring and reporting methodology and practice
  • Experience in 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 English and another relevant regional language is preferred

How to Apply

Please send the following documents in a single PDF to and CC by March 7, 2024 at 5pm EST. Interviews will take place within three weeks of the application deadline.

  • 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