Work On! UN Peacekeeping recruiting senior women

We are actively looking for qualified senior women to join our staff.

(UN Photo/Fardin Waezi) UNAMA’s human rights chief, Georgette Gagnon, takes questions from the media in Afghanistan.

United Nations Peacekeeping is actively looking for “qualified senior women” to join their staff:

We are looking for senior qualified women with proven leadership skills, integrity, and commitment to the ideals of the UN Charter to create a ‘talent pipeline’ of Directors in UN Peacekeeping and Special Political Missions.

We seek seasoned managers who have worked in the areas of conflict management, governance, political analysis, media/strategic communication, law, amongst others, to compete for senior positions in our field missions. These roles are mostly at non-duty family stations in conflict or post conflict settings, at the D-1 and D-2 levels in the areas of:

  • Political/Civil Affairs
  • Public Information and Communication
  • Rule of Law and Security Institutions

Who is eligible?

Women with an advanced level university degree, with at least 15 years of relevant professional work experience in one of the areas listed above, and fluent in English and/or French and Arabic. French and Arabic speakers are highly sought because many of our field missions are in countries where these are the primary working languages. You do not need to have prior UN experience. We have asked Member States to help us identify women with the above eligibility criteria for the talent pipeline. Women staff members at the P-5 level and above in the Secretariat and the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, as well as women in our partner intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations are also welcome to express their interest directly. This initiative is part of the Secretary-General’s effort to improve the representation and retention of women in the UN system.

Why would I want to join this initiative?

Members of the talent pipeline will benefit from regular updates on field mission vacancies for which they are qualified, as well as guidance on the application and assessment process. Note that being a member does not constitute an automatic offer to a post, and all members of the talent pipeline would apply to specific openings via the UN Careers website.

How do I express my interest?

Referrals or applications to the talent pipeline should include a cover letter and a curriculum vitae (or PHP) and be emailed to the Recruitment Section, Field Personnel Division, Department of Field Support, at

Recent developments in Colombian jurisprudence on conflict-related sexual violence

During her first visit to Colombia last month, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura drew attention to the issue of sexual violence in Colombia’s five decade long conflict. She met with government officials, survivors and civil society to discuss the progress made in preventing and responding to sexual violence. The conflict, which has involved left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and state security forces, has taken a heavy toll on the civilian population, in particular women and children. Those who have experienced sexual violence want their crimes acknowledged. Ms Bangura’s message was clear: Colombian authorities must work to end the silence and impunity surrounding these crimes.

This is an important message. Despite their prevalence, sexual violence crimes are rarely prosecuted, and impunity levels remain high. However, several recent decisions—in which courts have stressed the need for accountability—reflect positive developments in the judiciary’s handling of these crimes.

Colombia’s Constitutional Court has played a significant role in giving sexual violence crimes visibility. In January of this year, the Constitutional Court issued Auto (Order) 009, in which it noted “with alarm” the persistence of sexual violence as a serious form of gender discrimination. It urged authorities to not only address these crimes, but to comply with their obligations to prevent and ensure their non-repetition. Importantly, it stressed that all parties to the conflict were responsible for such crimes, and referred over 400 sexual violence cases to the Attorney General’s Office for investigation and prosecution.

The Court also highlighted two underreported issues. It noted that sexual violence against children illegally recruited by armed groups persists, in particular against indigenous children. During her visit, Ms Bangura also referred to this issue as well as to the silence that exists regarding the generations of children born out of rape. Additionally, the Court recognized that women are at times targeted for sexual violence and displaced because of their sexual orientation−an aspect of the conflict often ignored.

This ruling follows the Court’s landmark decision of 2008, Auto 092 on women and displacement, in which it acknowledged that women are among those most affected by displacement and that displaced women are particularly at risk of sexual violence. In that ruling, the Court stressed that sexual violence is “a habitual, extensive, systematic and invisible practice in the context of the Colombian armed conflict”. It called on the Attorney General’s Office to investigate 183 cases attached to the decision. Continue reading

Introducing Daniela Kravetz

139eab5It’s our great pleasure today to welcome Daniela Kravetz as an IntLawGrrls contributor.

Daniela is an international criminal justice and gender practitioner. She currently works as a consultant for UN Women in Colombia supporting domestic efforts to prosecute wartime sexual violence. She is also a visiting lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa, where she teaches a January term course on international criminal law and gender crimes.

Previously, she worked as a prosecutor at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, where she was involved in cases against high-level leaders for war crimes committed in that region. She is now participating in a project of the ICTY’s Office of the Prosecutor aimed at documenting its legacy concerning the investigation and prosecution of sexual violence crimes, which will be published later this year.

Daniela has worked in the fields of international human rights and humanitarian law with different agencies, including the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. This work has taken her to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Colombia, among other places. She regularly lectures on international criminal law and gender issues, and provides training to legal practitioners on the use of international criminal law to promote women’s human rights. Her research interests include gender issues in international criminal law, women’s rights in post-conflict societies, and legal advocacy. Daniela regularly tweets on these issues @KravetzDaniela.

Her first post will discuss recent developments in sexual violence jurisprudence in Colombia. Heartfelt welcome!

Failing to Face the Gender Challenge – note on the European Court of Human Rights Jurisprudence

The intersection of religion and gender equality in the context of international human rights law has been exceptionally controversial and poignant, touching the very essence of peoples’ personal beliefs and generating intense social and political tensions. Yet, the failure of international law-making institutions to develop substantial legal analysis on this monumental issue is more than a political issue. It is a substantive failure of human rights law to protect women.

Thus far, it can be argued that there is a general rule and agreement in international law by which women’s equality is considered as a higher norm such that freedom of religion and conscience cannot justify discrimination against women. However, even so, there are still several outstanding problems. For instance, it is simply not clear when and how this rule should be applied. What are religious discriminatory practices and how should we identify them? In what circumstances gender equality is really more important than religious freedoms, and under which conditions and exemptions? More generally, how should gender equality be understood in the religious context and what can be a proper balance. Another difficulty is that so far this general rule has been addressed in a binary manner by which gender equality is put against religion while in fact reality brought much complex claims (for instance, by many women who wish to assume their equality within the religious context and within their religious communities). While international law has been useful for obvious and extreme cases (where religion practices aggressively violated women’s rights), it has either avoided the complexity or over simplified the principle of equality in more complicated cases.

The European Court of Human Rights demonstrated these problems in recent case law over the bans on religious garments, much of it surrounding the wearing of veils, headscarves, and other modest garments by Muslim women in public spaces. Very briefly, on one side, proponents of the bans on religious veils have put forward justifications such as preserving state secularism in the public sphere, ensuring state’s religious neutrality, and promoting gender equality (as these garments are often seen as an oppressive practice). On the other side, opponents of the bans have claimed that they violate many aspects of the right to equality and women’s right to manifest their religion, as well as other sets of related rights (such as the right to personal autonomy, the right to privacy, access to public spaces and education, and the right to employment).

In the cases brought before it (most recently in SAS vs France, Dogru, Sahin and Dahlab), the Court dismissed the claims of women who pleaded for the right to manifest their religion and wear headscarves in educational settings or other public places. Generally, the Court ruled that the limitations on religious freedoms were necessary in a democratic society for “… the protection of the rights and freedoms of others” (as prescribed by article 9(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights). In three of the cases, the Court decisions further approved as a legitimate aim the governments’ claim to promote gender equality as these garments were introduced as an oppressive practice towards women and as a threat to democratic values.

However, it is not the results of the rulings that are most concerning. It is the court’s disappointing failure to fully engage in the legal complexity of the debate. In the course of its rulings, the Court avoided confrontation with the competing set of rights, and did not develop any comprehensive legal assessment or methodology on the tension between women’s equality, human rights and religious freedoms, to tackle these conflicts in a systematic manner.

Continue reading

Introducing Cochav Elkayam-Levy

profile picIt’s our great pleasure today to welcome Cochav Elkayam-Levy as an IntLawGrrls contributor. Cochav joined the Penn Law S.J.D. program at 2014. Prior to that, Cochav served as Penn Law Rule of Law and Human Rights Fellow. She graduated with distinction from the Penn Law LL.M program, where she also joined as a Human Rights Scholar, and was the recipient of several exemplary awards. Cochav holds a joint LL.B degree in Law and Political Science from Bar-Ilan University (Magna cum Laude). As a result of her work for the rights of unaccompanied minors and undocumented migrants, Cochav was awarded the Toll Public Interest Center’s 2013 Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Leadership, the Exemplary Pro Bono Service Award and the LLM Public Service Award. In 2012, Cochav was awarded the Philadelphia Bar Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Human Rights.

Previously, Cochav served as a legal counsel for the Human Rights Division in the International Agreements and Litigation Department of the Israeli Ministry of Justice. It that capacity, she was responsible to consult on and promote human rights issues at the State level. Cochav also served as an associate with the Supreme Court Department of the Israeli Attorney General’s Office and worked as an associate at a Tel Aviv law firm.  Currently, Cochav works with Prof. William Burke-White, Inaugural Director of Perry World House, Penn’s new institution for international and global affairs.

Cochav’s first post will discuss her article on the European Court of Human Rights’ and its failure to fully engage in the legal complexity of women’s religious freedoms and gender equality principles, which was recently published in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International LawHeartfelt welcome!

Call for applications: Special Rapporteur on right to privacy in the digital age

OHCHRThe OHCHR has posted the call for applications for the newly-created post of Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy in the digital age, discussed in IntLawGrrls posts by Lisl Brunner here and here.  As Marko Milanovic has noted, “Bearing in mind the wide scope of the right to privacy, this SR is sure to be a mega-mandate.”

Deadline for applications:  30 April 2015
Mandate of this rapporteurship: Set out in HRC Resolution A/HRC/28/L.27, available in all UN languages here.
Application procedure: Through the special procedures on-line application system, here.

Key qualifications have been suggested by the following civil society organisations to help identify and reach out to highly qualified and independent candidates for this post: Access, American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Article 19, Association for Progressive Communications, Electronic Frontier Foundation, International Commission of Jurists, Privacy International.

Here are just a few of the individuals who have been doing impressive work in this field who come to mind as potential candidates:

MalavikaMalavika Jayaram, a technology lawyer and a Fellow at the Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore, India; recently a Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and Visiting Scholar at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, where she worked on  freedom of speech, internet policy and privacy issues. Previously based in London with the global law firm Allen & Overy in the Communications, Media & Technology group, and with Citigroup as Vice President and Technology Counsel. One of ten Indian lawyers selected for The International Who’s Who of Internet e-Commerce & Data Protection Lawyers directory.  Amongst other things, her bios indicate, “she has been looking at the evolution of big data and e-governance projects in India – particularly the world’s largest biometric ID project – and their implications for identity, freedom, choice and informational self-determination.”

???????????????????????????????Carolina Botero, a digital activist and lawyer with the Karisma Foundation in Colombia, a “civil society organization dedicated to supporting and spreading the good use of technologies in digital environments, social processes and national public policies and the region, from the perspective of protection and promotion of human rights.” Botero leads the foundation’s Law, Internet and Society group, “a multidisciplinary group that works for a responsible and thoughtful use of information and communication technology in the various sectors of society, in light of the role played by the legal framework in the dynamics of the internet.”

Nighat DadNighat Dad, Director of the Digital Rights Foundation in Pakistan, which works “to support human rights, democratic processes and digital governance,” and “aims to strengthen protections for human rights defenders and women human rights defenders in digital spaces through policy advocacy and digital security awareness-raising.” A researcher and lawyer with extensive experience in cyber law, her focus is “not only on addressing Internet Governance issues related to Freedom of Expression but also on articulating civil society’s concerns over government policies that hamper citizens use of Information and Communication Technologies.” She has written on ICT issues experienced particularly by women; participated in the UN Internet Governance Forum; and is a member of the Women’s Networking Support Program of the Association for Progressive Communication.

Read On! National Case Law as a Generator of International Refugee Law: Rectifying an Imbalance within UNHCR Guidelines on International Protection

Read On! National Case Law as a Generator of International Refugee Law: Rectifying an Imbalance within UNHCR Guidelines on International Protection

Emory International Law Review recently published my article which seeks  to evaluate UNHCR Guidelines on International Protection in order to examine whether there are discrepancies in the citation of national case law. Part I pursues quantitative analysis of UNHCR’s references to national case law in its guidelines. It is suggested that there are two main problems: first, the absence of reference to national case law in some guidelines and second, the dominance of common law/English-language national decisions in other guidelines which renders UNHCR output subject to legitimacy challenges as it seeks to provide objective guidance on interpretation of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees. It also quantifies and discusses the nature of reference to case law from international human rights and criminal tribunals within UNHCR guidelines. Part II presents an alternative view on the importance of transnational judicial dialogues within Refugee Law, using as a case example the treatment of conscientious objectors seeking asylum in different national jurisdictions as juxtaposed to the UNHCR guidelines on military service. Part III assesses whether the Background Papers demonstrate parallel citation lacunae or biases. Part IV offers a conclusion calling for reform of UNHCR’s Department of International Protection in order to improve the compilation and reference to national case law by UNHCR in its soft law guidelines and policy documents, as well as improving the transparency of UNHCR’s Refugee Status Determination system so as to improve the legitimacy of the evolution of international refugee law.

The article may accessed here


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