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Senior Human Rights Advisor

Yangon (Myanmar)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Yangon (Myanmar)
  • Grade: P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Human Rights
  • Closing Date: 2019-12-16

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Myanmar has embarked on a major transition towards democracy, market style economy and peace. Myanmar has low middle-income status and is committed to lifting itself out of Least Developed Country (LDC) status within the next six years.  Following the implementation of the first UNDP Country Programme during 2013-2017 and as a key development partner of the government of Myanmar, UNDP is implementing a new Country Programme over 2018-2022, striving to deliver on a large and relevant programme portfolio that is responsive to the main development challenges facing the country. 

UNDP Myanmar is a key interlocutor and advisor to the Union government on rule of law, institution building and accountability issues, and is expanding its programme at the state, region and township levels to ensure stronger institutions at all levels of government as well as broader civic engagement as part of the effort to build and sustain peace.  Based on the new Country Programme several new, integrated projects have been developed, including the Strengthening Accountability and Rule of Law (SARL) Project, launched in June 2018.

SARL supports accountability institutions in all three branches of state whose mandates play a crucial role in protecting basic rights of Myanmar’s population: the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission, State and Region Parliaments, the Union Attorney General’s Office, and the Office of the Supreme Court of the Union.  By strengthening these key accountability institutions, SARL focuses on the systemic drivers or enablers of human rights violations such as the prevalence of corruption, weak parliamentary oversight and representation, and low adherence to principles of administrative justice and rule of law.

The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) is an independent institution for the protection and promotion of human rights throughout the country.  It is mandated to monitor the implementation and observance of all human rights enshrined in the constitution of Myanmar, domestic laws and international treaties to which Myanmar is a party. 

An official Capacity Assessment of the MNHRC was completed in late 2018 through a cooperation with OHCHR and the Asia Pacific Forum of Human Rights Institutions (APF), and launched in February 2019.  To support amendment of the 2014 MNHRC Law, SARL also assisted the Commission to hold a consultation with a number of parliamentary committees, which has prepared the ground for amendment of the law.  Following the Capacity Assessment SARL, OHCHR and APF then supported MNHRC to develop a new five-year Strategic Plan, which provides the basis for SARL’s 2019-2021 programme of support for the Commission.  This programme will assist the Commission to develop the core institutional capacities it needs to execute its crucial and independent ‘watchdog’ role for the protection and promotion of human rights, monitoring, advocacy, and complaints handling through investigations and to enable other national human rights actors to work together to achieve critical mass on human rights issues. 

The Senior Human Rights Advisor in SARL Project will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the project’s human rights component in addition to providing high quality technical guidance and advice to the MNHRC and to the UNDP Myanmar Country Office, in close collaboration with OHCHR in Bangkok, and APF.  Likewise, s/he will also support the MNHRC with specific activities within its new Strategic Plan, while preparing the foundation for a longer-term platform to channel technical support from a broad range of UN agencies, bilateral and multilateral missions, academia and I/NGOs and CSOs in Myanmar.

UNDP Myanmar is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff.  Female candidates are encouraged to apply for this position.

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the overall guidance and in close coordination with UNDP Country Office, and working closely with the SARL Project Manager, the Senior Human Rights Advisor will provide day-to-day management and technical direction of activities under this component of the SARL Project, while providing high quality technical advice and support to both Country Office senior management and the MNHRC. The Senior Human Rights Advisor will report directly to the Team Leader, Governance and Sustainable Peace Unit, and liaise frequently with the Chairperson of the MNHRC, and UNDP Country Office senior management.  The Senior Human Rights Advisor will also be working in close collaboration with key UN agencies such as OHCHR in Bangkok, and APF.

Summary of Key Functions:

In this role the Senior Human Rights Advisor will be responsible for ensuring quality and results by:

  • Providing technical and policy advice on human rights issues to the UNDP Country Office’s programmes and projects, and SARL activities
  • Managing and providing technical direction for SARL’s human rights component
  • Supporting partnerships, resource mobilization and advocacy efforts
  • Facilitating knowledge management and sharing

Provides relevant and timely policy support and advisory services on human rights issues to UNDP and MNHRC  

  • Act as a senior advisor in the area of human rights to UNDP, SARL Project and other projects, providing strategic policy advice.  Supports integration of human rights into programmes and activities and builds capacities to apply a human-rights based approach to programming. 
  • Lead the provision of technical advisory services and training to the MNHRC ensuring the highest technical standards, particularly in its engagement with international human rights mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review, Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. 
  • Actively analyse developments in the area of human rights and establish links between country priorities, positions of the international community and SARL Project strategies.  Identify key policy/programmatic gaps and opportunities.  Provide regular briefs to the Country Office management and programme, and UN Country Team as required.
  • Systematically monitor the national and sub-national policy agenda and reform processes on human rights issues and identify key human rights issues for national and sub-national policy support and guidance.
  • Contribute to development and the drafting of policy papers, technical reports, research and assessments; serve as peer reviewer; conceptualize and draft articles, papers and other contributions related to human rights. 
  • Support project teams to conduct social and environmental screening or assessments and do no harm reviews during the formulation of new projects, providing inputs on human rights issues.  Support development of risk management plans and monitoring of identified risks.
  • Represent UNDP in coordination and expert bodies on human rights and access to justice, as requested by the Country Office. Serve as the UNDP focal person on the UN Country Team Human Rights Theme Group. 
  • Provide support to interviews or public speaking on human rights issues as requested.
Manages and provides technical direction for SARL’s human rights component on day-to-day basis  
  • Manage and provide technical direction to project personnel under this component of SARL (national officer, technical specialists, consultants), including performance management, and ensure timely implementation, results–orientation and accountability for activity results.
  • Lead on the development of new activities in consultation with the MNHRC: defining scope of work, developing ToRs/concept notes, identifying and selecting technical experts.
  • Coordinate closely with the Project Manager to oversee activities in this component, including: detailed planning and budgeting; preparing procurements; performing quality control and monitoring; conducting field missions, and participating in audits and evaluations. Ensure that the technical quality and results of these activities are as robust as possible. 
  • Provide timely inputs to the development of SARL’s quarterly and annual planning, reporting and target setting for this component.
  • Contribute technical inputs at meetings of the Project Board and Technical Working Groups, and coordination meetings at national level.  Draft substantive and technical inputs for these meetings, prepare presentations and contribute to discussions.
  • Identify and assist in recruitment of relevant expertise needed for delivery of project objectives.
  • Identify areas of improvement by applying best practices/lessons learnt using UNDP corporate monitoring tools and corporate reports.
Supports partnerships, resource mobilization and advocacy efforts 
  • Advise, guide and provide support in partnerships with specific project partners and donors.
  • Support identification of additional partnership and funding opportunities, and prepare funding proposals, donor briefings and presentations.
  • Mobilize, foster and strengthen strategic partnerships with UN agencies, and other relevant multilateral and bilateral organizations providing support to the MNHRC.
  • Foster and enhance collaboration with relevant Government bodies by working closely with Government counterparts and national partners.
  • Establish strong ties with national programmes, and relevant government ministries which would ultimately facilitate the implementation of the project objectives.
Facilitates knowledge management and sharing
  • Identify and synthesize best practices and lessons learned from the project area for organizational sharing and learning as well as external information.
  • Actively participate in UNDP knowledge and learning and take advantage of best practices and lessons learned that are available in the region and globally.
  • Create a culture of knowledge sharing and learning in the project.
  • Support capacity and knowledge building of national counterparts through on the job training, knowledge sharing workshops, publications and organization of study tours.
  • Promote the participation of UNDP Myanmar in regional and global programme activities related to the project areas as appropriate. 


IV. Competencies and Selection Criteria

Description of Competency at Level Required



Ability to make new and useful ideas work

Level 6: Exercises stakeholder-centered design approaches for office / programme / division


Ability to persuade others to follow

Level 6: Ensures teams are resourced for success and empowered to deliver

People Management

Ability to improve performance and satisfaction

Level 6: Guides substantive specialists / teams and expands credibility and innovation capacity


Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform

Level 6: Creates confidence among stakeholders by delivering authoritative positions, compelling analysis, and contextual acumen


Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement

Level 6: Accepts accountability for the outcomes of programme delivery and facilitates improvement and innovation in the delivery of products and services


Human Rights

Knowledge of human rights principles, international mechanisms and related concepts, and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations

Level 6: Integrate & Empower: Leads integral work of teams utilizing expertise, vision, problem-solving capability, and collaborative energy in professional area of expertise

National Human Rights Institutions

Knowledge of the key functions of NHRIs and the challenges they face, their relationship to core government institutions, and ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations in different development situations.

Level 6: Integrate & Empower: Leads integral work of teams utilizing expertise, vision, problem-solving capability, and collaborative energy in professional area of expertise

Capacity Development

Ability to support partner countries' capacity to manage ODA resources effectively and harmonize with national policy and financing frameworks 

Level 6: Integrate & Empower: Leads integral work of teams utilizing expertise, vision, problem-solving capability, and collaborative energy in professional area of expertise

Coordination Provider-Recipient

Ability to manage complex relationships through pathways of knowledge exchange, capacity development, funding relationships and strategic engagement

Level 6: Integrate & Empower: Leads integral work of teams utilizing expertise, vision, problem-solving capability, and collaborative energy in professional area of expertise

Substantive Positioning of UNDP

Knowledge of global institutions (such as the UN, IFIs), processes (such as G20 and various UN initiatives), good grasp of UNDP’s niche, and ability to engage and foster strong networks with those institutions

Level 6: Integrate & Empower: Leads integral work of teams utilizing expertise, vision, problem-solving capability, and collaborative energy in professional area of expertise


Ability to reach an understanding, resolve point of difference, or gain advantage in the outcome of dialogue

Level 6: Integrate & Empower: Leads integral work of teams utilizing expertise, vision, problem-solving capability, and collaborative energy in professional area of expertise

Required Skills and Experience


  • Master's degree in human rights or law, with priority given to human rights law. 


  • At least 10 years of experience in the field of human rights, of which at least 3 years working with, and in the strengthening of, national human rights institutions.
  • Experience delivering effective institutional strengthening programmes in developing country contexts, particularly with national human rights institutions is required, and with other national human rights organizations and United Nations agencies
  • Experience working, liaising and collaborating with senior government representatives, civil society representatives, and international public organizations is required.  Experience working with election officials is desirable.
  • Previous experience with the United Nations System, including UNDP is desirable.
  • Familiarity with the Southeast Asian human rights context is desirable.

Language Requirements:

  • Demonstrated excellent command of spoken and written English.


UNDP is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.

Only those candidates in whose qualifications and experience the Organization has further interest will be contacted for subsequent interview(s).

UNDP regrets its inability to reply individually or attend to telephone or e-mail queries on the advertised posts.

Women are encouraged to apply the post.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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