There is growing interest amongst members of the Tamil diaspora in contributing their time and professional expertise in a meaningful manner to develop and empower vulnerable communities in war-affected, developing, rural, and remote regions of Sri Lanka. However, it is often difficult for these individuals to identify and connect with credible local community-based organisations in Sri Lanka. comdu.it is a growing global network of diaspora changemakers committed to the sustainable development of the traditional Tamil homelands in Sri Lanka. Since 2016, we have been committed to helping shift diaspora engagement from charity to sustainability, from aid to economic development, and from sending remittance to building a knowledge economy instead.
The Associateship program stream provides new and young professionals with the opportunity to discover, connect, and explore their heritage and history in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Applicants will pre-plan a project prior to their arrival in Sri Lanka, do a high-intensity implementation over a specified period of time on the ground in the Northern and Eastern provinces, and continue evaluation upon their return to Canada.
INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre was established to monitor and document the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, especially in the context of the ethnic conflict and civil war. INFORM works by reporting on the situation through written and oral interventions at the local, national and international level. INFORM also conducts rights advocacy and awareness building work, including work on policy change. While a strong focus of its work has been on the conflict, INFORM also focuses on working with other communities whose rights have been frequently and systematically violated. Presently, INFORM focuses primarily on human rights defenders protection and freedom of expression, and transitional justice issues such as enforced disappearances, land, and memorialization as well as engaging with UN human rights mechanisms. For more information, please visit ihrdc.wordpress.com.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Research, collect, verify, analyze and monitor information relevant to the observance of international human rights and humanitarian law, via in-office interviews, field visits, desk research and/or filing Right to Information Act applications, and other complaints to UN and domestic bodies.
- Travel within mostly the north and east, but at times to other parts of the country, and interact with survivors, victim families and communities affected by war.
- Draft a variety of reports, briefings and other types of communications relating to human rights matters in compliance with established standards.
- Document individual rights violation scenarios as appropriate on a case-by-case basis (e.g. for fundraising purposes, briefings for diplomats and/or official complaints to the United Nations).
- Provide relevant support to programs catered to visiting human rights defenders at risk from other countries by documenting their stories and/or writing fundraising appeals.
- Produce regular reports on general trends of Sri Lanka’s human rights landscape.
- Contributes to the integration of gender perspectives/considerations and specific women/girls’ rights in all activities.
- Completed undergraduate degree or diploma in Law, Political Science, International Relations, Social Sciences, or related disciplines.
- Full fluency in English and conversational proficiency in Tamil.
- Commitment to human rights and social justice.
- The ability to sensitively interact with survivors, victim families and communities affected by war.
- Ability to identify sources for data collection, analyze information and draft human rights reports.
- Excellent presentation, interpersonal, analytical, and oral and written communication skills.
- Interpersonal skills, including open and honest communication, negotiation, and collaboration.
- Approaches challenges with curiosity, not judgement.
- Strong personal initiative, resourcefulness and capacity to be self-motivated and also work as part of a team.
- Must be driven to improve the lives of marginalized people, and work with them to do so, in a way that is led by them, for them, and is sustainable and achieves their objectives.
- Must be committed to equality, and by extension, open to learning about resilience, diversity and solidarity from the vulnerable communities they are working with.
- Must be able to lead by example by being open minded, humble, and embrace opportunities to grow personally.
- Contribute to the integration of gender perspectives/considerations and specific women/girls’ rights in all activities.
Preferred but not mandatory qualifications
- Currently in or recently completed graduate degree or post-graduate diploma in Law, Political Science, International Relations, Social Sciences, or related disciplines.
- Experience in human rights, political affairs, international relations, law, or related areas.
- Knowledge of human rights issues and ability to identify related problems in their political, ethnic, racial, gender equality and socio-economic dimensions.
- Research and analytical skills, including ability to identify and participate in the resolution of human rights issues.
- Knowledge of institutional mandates of human rights organizations, prevailing policies and procedures.
- Experience working with international human rights standards, instruments and mechanisms.
- Experience in human rights monitoring and reporting.
- Full fluency in Tamil and/or conversational proficiency in Sinhala.
- Work experience in vocational institutions, post-secondary institutions, or international organizations.
Volunteer Benefits and Support
- Fifty percent (50%) of all placement costs covered (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodation).
- Guidance with booking flights, obtaining visa, accommodations, etc.
- Participation in pre-departure training where you will have the opportunity to learn about our work, gain practical skills for living and working in a lower middle-income country, and meet other volunteers.
- In-country orientation upon arrival.
- Potential tour and briefing of the Northern and Eastern provinces.
- Support and guidance prior to departure and while on assignment in Sri Lanka.
- Return debriefing after completion of assignment, including counselling support.
- The opportunity of a lifetime to provide meaningful assistance to war-impacted communities in the North and East of Sri Lanka.
- Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, Germany or host country between the ages of 20 – 40.
- Departure date is contingent upon the timely completion of all administrative requirements (e.g. visa process, medical clearance, vulnerable sector checks, travel documentation).
- Successful applicants must raise fifty percent (50%) of their placement costs (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodations).