**Volunteer Advocates (VAs) Needed in Asylum Access Malaysia
Opening: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Generally, onboarding for VAs takes place in January/February and July/August, but a flexible start date can be arranged for the right candidate.
Asylum Access Malaysia (AAM) is actively seeking applications from individuals passionate about social justice and refugee rights, and who are driven to make a positive impact in the lives of refugees living in Malaysia. VAs will commit to a minimum of six months in Malaysia, where they will be directly supervised by the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) Supervisor, and will work alongside other refugee advocates and fellow volunteers. Following an intensive training program in international refugee law and domestic laws and policies on refugees, VAs will play a key role in executing AAM’s advocacy tools, namely:
Legal aid: VAs will provide legal counsel and advice to refugees before the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia. They may also assist in the representation of clients during RSD proceedings in the UNHCR.
Community Outreach: VAs will also be given the opportunity to participate in community legal empowerment initiatives, as well as participate in other outreach activities.
AAM fosters a collaborative team environment to which all VAs will contribute. The VAs will also help support the full management of the office, which includes participating in direct office administration essential to the successful running of AAM operations. VAs may be also expected to facilitate community activities, present information about Asylum Access and refugee rights at community events, and assist in organizing conferences and meetings.
VAs are responsible for the following duties:
Advising refugees on the RSD process and assisting them to understand their rights;
Conducting client intake and screening interviews, assessing needs, identifying vulnerabilities and referring cases to the relevant service providers as necessary;
Preparing written briefs on behalf of those undergoing individual RSD procedures before the UNHCR;
Maintaining a potentially high caseload of RSD cases in a fast-paced, demanding environment while adhering to strict filing deadlines;
Communicating updates to clients on a timely basis;
Conducting research on Country of Origin Information (COI) and refugee law jurisprudence;
Conducting and participating in workshops;
Participating in community meetings and assisting in identifying and developing the leadership capacity of community members;
Assisting in developing and executing client outreach strategy in collaboration with the AAM team;
Where necessary, assisting in the general administrative duties of the AAM office.
Ability to commit to at least 6 months of full-time service work;
Degree in Law (where a focus in International Law, International Refugee Law or International Human Rights Law would be an asset). In the absence of a Degree in Law, candidates must possess a strong working knowledge of refugee law and RSD procedures, as well as have experience in assisting refugee claimants;
Experience working in direct client services, ideally with refugees in particular or in human rights in general, guided by a strong passion for social justice work;
Experience in interviewing individuals to obtain complex information, as well as the ability to deal with confidential and sensitive information professionally;
Possessing good analytical skills and judgment;
Experience working with vulnerable populations and/or survivors of trauma;
Experience in community-organizing;
Experience working in a non-profit or legal aid setting with limited resources;
Ability to live and work in a multicultural environment in Southeast Asia, in a setting with a large refugee population;
Aptitude to prioritise and successfully complete assigned tasks with minimal oversight, while serving clients with the highest ethical standards;
Ability to work as part of a team and to follow the direction of AAM management staff;
A positive personality with demonstrated capacity to handle living and working in an ad-hoc environment, where difficult situations may arise unexpectedly;
Professional written and verbal English is mandatory, while knowledge of other languages (Malay, Burmese, Arabic, Tamil, Urdu, Somali, Farsi, French) is a strong asset.
Refugee Rights Training and Professional Development – Throughout the VAs’ work with AAM, the organization will support VAs with a series of tools to maximize their programmatic work and their understanding of refugee law and practice. Regular training and debriefing sessions will offer VAs the chance to enhance and process their experience and share insight about cross-cultural issues.
Casework – Upon joining the team, VAs will be largely responsible for their own casework, which they will see through preparation, submission and results. Throughout the life of a case, they will receive support and mentorship from AAM’s leadership team. This will give VAs the practical experience of legal representation, client contact, research, brief writing, and other invaluable legal experience.
Joining our Network – After working with Asylum Access, VAs will be connected with an ever-growing network of refugee legal advocates around the world, which circulates job openings, research opportunities, refugee news, and more. VAs will also have access to the mentorship of AAM’s leadership team.