Protection and Human Rights – UNICEF – Jayawardenapura Kotte

For every child,

During armed conflict, children are targeted for the worst possible violence and abuse, including abduction, rape and recruitment as child soldiers, and may be forced or coerced to take part in atrocities. Because children are among the most affected by conflict they become victims and witnesses of these offences. The lack of accountability for conflict-related crimes against children can leave child victims vulnerable to further violation and abuse.

Accountability in post-conflict situations can fulfill a number of important functions. It contributes to the process of healing and helps children understand that they are not to blame for what has happened. By investigating and documenting violations committed, accountability processes raise public awareness of the impacts of conflict on children. Accountability can also help to break the cycle of violence, restore confidence in democracy and the rule of law, and strengthen the legitimacy and authority of the new government. In recent years, truth, justice and reconciliation processes have begun to focus specifically on crimes committed against children and have involved children proactively, including through testimony that bears witness to their experiences. These processes should also seek to address the issue of children who have been separated from their families and or went missing due to conflict.

Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, which lasted over 26 years, ended in 2009 and was followed by massive displacement of families and children. One of the key child protection issues following the displacement in 2009 was that of separated and missing children. In the complex emergency situation of the last phase of the Sri Lankan conflict, a large number of displaced children were lost or separated from their families. Families displaced from the conflict have been filing tracing requests and reporting missing children to a number of competent authorities at the district, as well as national level.

In December 2009, in response to the many missing child tracing requests, the Vavuniya District Government Agent, and the Northern Province Probation and Child Care Commissioner jointly established a Family Tracing and Reunification (FTR) Unit for unaccompanied and separated children. Given the serious child protection concerns, UNICEF has supported this initiative. The FTR Unit included staff with functions in managing help-line, data collection and tracing, who underwent an orientation and specialist training. The training also covered topics of how to handle calls and deal with visiting parents/relatives, as well as data/information collection and management.

In the ensuing years, the FTR Unit recorded hundreds of tracing applications, including of children. As of May 2017, according to the data provided by the FTR Unit, the caseload is 2,564 cases, of which 824 are related to children. Of these 824 cases, 72 cases have resulted in reunification of children with families. The cases of over 750 missing children still remain un-resolved. The age analysis of children show that many children have been between the ages of 16 and 18 at the time of disappearance. The FTR Unit was first based in Vavuniya, but later was moved to Kilinochchi town, where it is staffed by the Department of Probation and Child Care Services. The Unit has staff in five districts of the Northern Province.

In October 2015, Sri Lanka co-sponsored the UN resolution titled ‘Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka recognizing the need for reconciliation and for the setup of a four-tiered domestic mechanism to address the violations faced by the people during conflict. And in 2016, the Sri Lankan Government for the first time acknowledged that around 65,000 people has gone missing as a result of the separatist war and the insurrections in the history of Sri Lanka. Hence, the Office of Missing Persons Act No.14 of 2016 was adopted, which created a permanent body to investigate the disappearances. The Office of Missing Persons Act mandated the establishment of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) and it became functional in March 2018 with the presidential appointment of seven independent commissioners.

This situation created a need to support the Government, particularly the OMP, in tracing missing children, as well as the other missing persons. It also raised an institutional question on the mandate, relevance and relationships vis-a-vis the OMP and FTR Unit. In response to the above situation, UNICEF intends to support an international consultancy, which will undertake a rigorous qualitative study to analyse and document the work, expertise and experience of the FTR Unit. It is anticipated that this study will facilitate to draw recommendations and lessons learned that benefit the work of OMP moving forward. This objective contributes to the UN’s goal of supporting the Transitional Justice process in Sri Lanka as part of implementation of the Human Rights Council Resolution of 2015.

The consultancy is within the framework of UNICEF’s Child Protection Programme Work Plan for 2018-19. Furthermore, the consultancy will contribute to UNICEF’s strategic plan for the period 2018-21, as the key programme strategy for delivering sustained results in for the third goal of Every Child is protected from Violence and Exploitation. This consultancy is part of UNICEF’s commitment to investing a portion of its resources on Justice for Children Programming.

How can you make a difference;

Prepare an Inception report that includes a review of literature and suggested methodology for the study;
Conduct data collection and analysis (based on agreed methodology);
Compile a draft report with sections on (i) key findings from the data and analysis on the current state of affairs at the FTR Unit (documentation of experience); (ii) best practice and trending challenges in tracing and reunifying missing children with their families; (iii) recommendations and lessons learned for consideration of the OMP; and (iv) conclusions and recommendations for the UN. The final list of sections will be agreed as part of the Inception report.
Facilitate and present the key findings and conclusions to workshops with stakeholders at all levels to ensure proper validation of the study.
Present the final report to UNICEF, based on the feedback from workshops.
Based on the need, UNICEF may request the consultant to conduct training or awareness raising sessions on the topic of Children and Transitional Justice. This will be negotiated based on the need in the field.

Deliverables:

Submission of inception report (max. 10 pages) – 2 weeks
Submission of Draft Report – 5 weeks
Conduct validation workshops – 1 week
Submission of the final report (max. 45 pages) – 2 weeks
Duration of the Assignment : 4 months with an expected start date of 01 May 2018

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

Required – Advanced degree in related discipline.
Required – 10-15 years professional experience related to child protection, transitional justice and international law.
Required – Demonstrated ability to produce documents in English, demonstrating both substantive and stylistic command of language skills, as well as familiarity with UN/UNICEF and with legal terminology and jargon.
Required – Excellent organizational skills and ability to work independently.
Required – Specific experience with mechanisms and processes related to accountability for human rights violations and transitional justice.
Specific and direct experience that will enable full and detailed documentation and analysis of the issues to be explored.
Proven record of experience and publications related to the issue to be addressed.
Recommended by key experts in the specific field of inquiry.
Desirable – Familiarity with UNICEF, child protection and child rights.
Desirable – Familiarity with transitional justice.

Conditions:

The consultant is required to certify that they are covered by medical/health insurance
The consultant serves in their individual capacity and not as representatives of a government or of any other authority including UNICEF
Consultant is responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local laws
UNICEF does not provide or arrange life or health insurance coverage for consultants and individual contractors.
Travel paid for by UNICEF in advance, and travel costs reimbursed after travel, shall be based on economy class travel, regardless of the length of travel
The candidate selected will be governed by and subject to UNICEF’s General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants / Individual Contractors.
For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

Remarks:

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

HOW TO APPLY:
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization. To apply, click on the following link http://www.unicef.org/about/employ

 

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