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Volunteer Opportunity: Volunteer Legal Advisor

Innovative Human Rights NGO Seeks 

Volunteer Legal Advisors in Bangkok, Thailand


About Asylum Access

Asylum Access is a leading refugee human rights organization headquartered in Oakland, CA with substantial operations in three countries plus partnerships in additional countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Asylum Access is the only global organization working to make human rights a reality for refugees in first countries of refuge. Our unique combination of five integrated strategies provides grassroots assistance and changes the legal landscape for refugees and their host communities. By helping refugees assert their rights, we are putting power back into their hands. Our work transforms the traditional approach of endless humanitarian handouts to a sustainable solution that gives refugees the tools to provide for themselves and make choices about their own lives.


Asylum Access envisions a world where refugees are seen as people with rights, not just people with needs. Asylum Access believes that by empowering refugees to assert their human rights, we can create effective, lasting solutions for refugees around the world.


Position Description

Asylum Access Thailand (AAT) seeks applications from well-prepared candidates with strong writing skills and a passion for social justice who are ready to commit themselves to spending six months to a year as a Volunteer Legal Advocates based out of Bangkok, Thailand. 


Volunteer Legal Advocates (VLAs) will be placed in either the Protection Team or the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) Team. The Protection Team provides clients with protection counselling services on issues including Thai law, arrest, SGBV, domestic violence and child protection. The RSD Team represents clients in the RSD process before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 


The VLA will provide legal counsel, advice and advocacy on behalf of refugees seeking asylum or the assertion of other legal rights. Following an intensive training program in international refugee law, VLAs will be given the opportunity to practice before local offices of UNHCR. 



Volunteer Program Highlights


Development Training – Throughout your work with us, Asylum Access will support you with a series of tools to maximize your programmatic work and your understanding of refugee law and practice.  Regular training and debriefing sessions will offer you the chance to enhance and process your experience and share insight about cross-cultural issues.


Casework – Once you join our team, you will be responsible for your own casework, which you will see through preparation, submission and results. This will give you an invaluable experience and lasting ties with your clients.


Joining our Network – After working with us, you 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.


Key Responsibilities

Duties may include but are not limited to:

  • Conduct client intake and screening interviews, assess needs, and refer to other service providers as needed

  • Provides clients with protection counselling services, both at the AAT office as well as to clients detained in the Immigration Detention Centre

  • Advise refugees on the RSD process and assist them in understanding their rights

  • Interview refugees and submit written briefs on behalf of those undergoing individual RSD before UNHCR

  • Maintain a high caseload in a fast paced, demanding environment while adhering to strict filing deadlines

  • Conduct research on “country of origin” situations and refugee law jurisprudence

  • Develop material for workshops and legal clinics for refugees, work with translators to adapt materials, and teach and/or participate in the workshops and legal clinics

  • Occasionally, represent AAT at events, conferences and meetings, and/or assist in other publicity and/or fundraising efforts

  • Assist with the general administrative duties of the office, including helping to build administrative capacity within the office to meet demand as AAT grows


Preferred Qualifications

  • Degree in Law (specialization in International Law or International Refugee Law an asset)

  • Working knowledge in English is required, knowledge of other languages (Chinese, Urdu, French, Farsi, Tamil, Arabic, Khmer, Vietnamese Kinh, Hmong) is very helpful

  • Experience working in direct client services, ideally with asylum seekers or in human rights, as well as a strong passion for social justice work

  • Experience working with vulnerable populations and/or survivors of trauma

  • International experience living and working cross-culturally in developing countries, preferably in Southeast Asia  

  • Experience working in a non-profit setting with limited resources, ideally in the global south

  • An easy-going personality with the demonstrated capacity to handle living and working in an ad-hoc environment where difficult situations and crises can develop at a moment’s notice

  • Aptitude to successfully complete assigned tasks with minimal oversight while serving clients with the highest ethical standards

  • Understanding of the importance of working as part of a team and the ability to carefully and faithfully follow the direction of AAT management staff

  • Ability to commit to at least 6 months of full-time work

  • Female Thai Nationals are encourage to apply


Required Qualifications

  • Interest in international human rights and/or refugee rights and/or related topics

  • Ability to work with diverse individuals and groups. Candidate should be culturally sensitive

  • Basic working knowledge of Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Microsoft Office


Compensation and Position Conditions

Please note that all Asylum Access VLA positions are unpaid; we are happy to work with successful applicants to arrange for funding or school credit where available. The VLA will be responsible for expenses incurred relating to obtaining their visa. AAT will be responsible for government and legal service fees in obtaining work permit only. Details and orientation on required documents and procedure in applying for visa and work permit will be shared with successful candidates. 


Asylum Access takes protection & safeguarding extremely seriously. Employment is subject to our Child & Vulnerable Adult protection standards including where possible, background checks. Adherence to our Safeguarding Policy is mandatory for all staff, volunteers, and interns.


Application Instructions to Candidates 

Send your resume, cover letter and a concise writing sample to with the subject line “VLA AAT” by 30 June 2020. In your cover letter, please describe your reasons for applying, relevant qualifications, preferred start date, preferred work area (Protection Team or RSD Team) and how you learned about the position. 


Asylum Access is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. For more information about our organization, visit

Contact :

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