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These blog postings do not necessarily represent the views of all members of the Advisory Council.

22/03/2011

Job Posting: SLC Campaign Director

The Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice is looking for an exceptional person to become its Campaign Director. The role is London based.

Why the Sri Lanka Campaign is needed

The Sri Lanka Campaign exists to raise international awareness of one of the worst – but also least covered – human rights and humanitarian atrocities that have happened in recent years.
Focusing on human rights and related abuses in Sri Lanka (SL), the Campaign works with its Advisers and mobilises its supporters to put pressure on the UN and others who have influence over the Government of SL to promote justice, reconciliation and peace. The Campaign also shows solidarity with and provides moral support to Sri Lankan pro-democracy, human rights activists and independent journalists within the country and in exile. The Campaign supports non-violent approaches to change.

What the Campaign has done
In its first eighteen months of existence, the Campaign has won support from a range of individuals and organisations including INGOs who have been active on SL for many decades because it has:
• Helped to focus attention on what the UN could and should be doing
• Helped encourage larger organisations to put greater priority and be more outspoken about events in SL
• Helped to persuade the EU to suspend its preferential trading agreement with SL
• Maintained an up to date blog commentary about events, challenging those who could and should be doing more to do so
• Helped focus international attention on the current humanitarian and human rights/ democracy crisis and avoid looking on who to blame from the past

Context
The Sri Lanka Campaign was launched in the aftermath of the 2009 military victory by the Government of Sri Lanka by a group of volunteers, mainly London based, who were concerned about the situation of the 300,000 Tamils interned in camps. As the political situation has developed in Sri Lanka, the Campaign has adopted a wider focus of concern for human rights generally, particularly those of journalists since Sri Lanka is now ranked the 3rd most repressive country by Reporters Sans Frontier

The Position

As with all campaigns, the initial work was done by volunteers but now after 18 months
– and given that the situation is not getting better and in some ways getting worse – the Campaign has decided to institutionalise. It has registered as a non profit company
and the directors have raised £31,000 to date, from the Network for Social Change and
private individuals to employ a Campaign Director to increase the scale and intensity of the Campaign’s work, and thereby grow its supporter base. This is an opportunity for a highly motivated individual to put their own stamp on a new Campaign, with full support from an active group of volunteers, an impressive group of Advisers and a committed Board of Directors. Office space and budget will be available for the equivalent of one full time intern.

Main Responsibilities
To work with the Board, the volunteers and key external advisers to draw up a detailed work plan for 12 months and an overview plan for 5 years so as to focus and align the Campaign’s limited resources for maximum effect. Helping to build volunteer morale and motivation will be a key priority as will fundraising activities, with the full support from Board and volunteers, to secure the Campaign’s future.

Key Tasks
• To work with the Board and volunteers to draw up a detailed one year campaign and an overview five year plan
• To keep abreast of the political and human rights situation in Sri Lanka
• To develop and implement a comprehensive fundraising strategy (eg online, events)
• To oversee the development and maintenance of the Campaign website
• To strengthen links with other similar campaigning organisations and with organisations with an interest in Sri Lanka
• To represent the Campaign, with Board members and volunteers as appropriate, in meetings with Governments, inter-governmental bodies , media and other influential parties
• To organise, with support from Board and volunteers, one or more fundraising events
• To organise quarterly Board and volunteer meetings
• Any other tasks that may be determined to take priority

Person specification

Essential
• Experience of developing and implementing a campaign
• Self-starter, strong project management skills
• Experience of working with the media
• Strong commitment to engage with the fundraising challenge
• Strong communication skills, including writing
• An approach to organising which is inclusive and collaborative, ability to build relationships with a variety of different people

Desirable
• Experience of setting up or running a “not for profit” organisation
• Proven track record on human rights/democracy issues (a detailed knowledge of Sri Lankan history is not needed but a willingness to get up to speed quickly is essential) – the postholder will have to learn to speak on SLC matters in an authoritative manner with established SL experts
• Previous experience of working with expert advisers and or celebrities
• Experience of working with interns

Remuneration

This post will be based in London. Salary £20,000 (part time, hours to be negotiated.) Initial contract for one year with the intention to make this a permanent position if funding can be found.

Reporting and working relationships

Formally reporting to the Board of Directors, with day to day support provided by members of the volunteer group.

To apply, please send your CV and a covering letter, using Campaign Director as the subject line, stating why you believe you are a good candidate for this position to srilankacampaignrecruitment@gmail.com

The deadline for applications is 9.00 am on Monday 11th April. Interviews will be held pm on April 14th.

10/03/2011

New Amnesty paper highlights plight of thousands being held under repressive laws

Amnesty International raised concerns at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 9th 2011.

The statement is given below and full details can be found on AI on Sri Lanka

Amnesty International is calling on the Sri Lankan government to immediately release thousands of people currently being held in detention without charge or trial and to amend its repressive anti-terrorism laws to conform to international standards.

Amnesty International will be raising its concerns at a session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva today (9 March), including at a seminar about the laws and their application that will include lawyers from Sri Lanka.

An Amnesty International briefing paper, Forgotten Prisoners, released today, highlights how some of those detained are being held secretly where they are vulnerable to a range of abuses, including torture or being killed in custody.

More than 1,900 people already arrested and detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) remain in custody pending investigations, according to the last relevant official statements.

Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director, said:

“Sri Lanka’s so-called national security laws, and in particular the PTA, are being used to harass, intimidate and punish critical voices.

“Thousands of people are languishing in detention without charge or trial under these laws, outside even the protections offered by the Sri Lankan legal system and in clear violation of recognised international human rights standards.

“Amnesty International recognises the right and duty of the Sri Lankan government to protect its citizens from violence by armed groups, but these laws, and in particular the PTA, are too often abusive and too rarely result in proper convictions of alleged wrongdoers.

“Despite the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in May 2009, the government has failed to demonstrate its commitment to human rights and the rule of law by getting rid of the PTA.”

Background information:
Sri Lanka has been under a state of emergency almost continually since 1971, and successive governments have used national security as an excuse to introduce a range of broad emergency regulations.

This has led to the erosion and even suspension of people’s rights to freedom of thought, conscience and expression, as well as their right to live free from arbitrary arrest and detention.

The national security laws grant state authorities sweeping powers of detention and permit people to be held in secret locations. Security agents, often without proper uniforms or identification, can detain and hold suspects for months or years without a warrant or being produced before a magistrate.

http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=19313