Myanmar Legal Director

EarthRights International


  • Location: Yangon
  • Contract Type: Full-time
  • Closing Date: 04/07/2016

Early applications encouraged, as the position may fill earlier than the deadline.  EarthRights International (ERI) will continue accepting applications past the deadline if the position is not filled.

Job Summary:

ERI is seeking a Myanmar Legal Director to lead ERI’s Myanmar Legal Program activities. The position involves developing, managing, monitoring, implementing and evaluating legal advocacy activities.  ERI conducts strategic legal advocacy in our six thematic areas:  extractive industries, megaprojects, land rights and clean environments for vulnerable communities, rights and immunities for corporations and emerging regional and financial powers, rights and security of earth rights defenders, and climate change and climate justice.

Current focus areas for legal advocacy in Myanmar include: Special Economic Zones, Coal Projects and environmental pollution cases. The position supports the strategic development and administrative oversight of the Myanmar Legal Program, including overseeing the work of program staff, and integrating the program’s work with that of other ERI programs, including through coordinating internal program and organizational communications. Experience with capacity building and mentoring of lawyers is needed. The position also requires developing external partnerships, networking with local partners, conducting legal training and capacity building for public interest lawyers in the Myanmar Environmental Lawyers’ Network.

In consultation with the Myanmar Program Director and other ERI staff, the Myanmar Legal Director will help devise program objectives consistent with ERI’s mission and strategic plan, developing annual program plans, contributing to updating ERI’s strategic plan, implementing strategic litigation and other legal advocacy activities with local partners, integrating legal and campaign activities, reporting to foundations and donors in consultation with the Development Team, coordinating internal administrative matters, and contributing to program fundraising efforts.

The position requires substantial experience integrating local, regional and international legal advocacy and policy strategies using human rights and environmental law. Devising and teaching student-centered legal advocacy trainings for communities, campaigners and lawyers is needed, along with using a capacity building and gender mainstreaming approach. The ability to work with diverse staff and partners, and demonstrated success in developing and implementing effective legal advocacy strategies for affected communities in the Myanmar region or a similar context is required.


The Myanmar Legal Director must be an attorney or legal advocate, fluent in English, with at least 6 years of experience working on legal issues, preferably in Myanmar, or alternatively in Southeast Asia or a similar context. The Myanmar Legal Director has:

  • Program management experience in a legal or quasi legal context
  • Familiarity leading strategic litigation/legal advocacy, campaigning and integrating legal and campaign strategies in difficult political contexts, including around operational grievance mechanisms of business enterprises.
  • Experience working with and relating to communities affected by earth rights abuses in Myanmar, such as loss of natural resources and income, inadequate resettlement plans, and the negative health and livelihood impacts of pollution.
  • Familiarity or experience with the Myanmar legal system (or other systems where rule of law is a challenge) and key challenges, particularly those facing Myanmar lawyers, corporate accountability and earth rights abuses associated with Special Economic Zones, Coal Projects or environmental pollution.
  • Familiarity or experience with regional and international bodies and processes relevant to earth rights abuses in Southeast Asia, such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations human rights system.
  • Experience facilitating regional networks of NGOs, CBOs, academics or lawyers, non-lawyers and grassroots activists.
  • Demonstrated commitment to human rights and/or environmental protection and a deep understanding of their interrelationship, especially regarding Land Rights, Environmental Impact Assessments and pollution legal frameworks.
  • Excellent interpersonal and intercultural communication skills and experience working with multicultural teams.
  • Excellent oral communication and ability to lead public speaking events.
  • Excellent written communication, research, and organizational skills.
  • Interest, enthusiasm, and affinity for using the law as a vehicle for social change.
  • Self-motivated, work effectively under pressure and able to handle multiple projects at one time.
  • Good judgment, leadership and a sense of humor.
  • Ability to communicate in languages spoken in Myanmar a plus.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Background in advocacy campaigns and/or policy.
  • Complex toxic tort litigation experience.

We offer:

  • A competitive, non-profit sector salary
  • Medical insurance coverage
  • Annual & post-employment resettlement benefit
  • Paid vacation, sick and personal days
  • A casual, and fun, work environment

To apply: Submit cover letter, resume, writing sample, and a list of at least three references to:  [email protected] and include subject title “Myanmar Legal Director Application”.

EarthRights International (ERI) is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization that combines the power of law and the power of people in defense of earth rights. We specialize in fact-finding, legal actions against perpetrators of earth rights abuses, training for grassroots and community leaders, and advocacy campaigns. Through these strategies, ERI seeks to end earth rights abuses, to provide real solutions for real people, and to promote and protect human rights and the environment in the communities where we work.

ERI was founded in 1995 along the Thai-Burma border, using innovative legal strategies and mechanisms in order to bring justice to indigenous Burmese communities abused by the military regime and its corporate partners in the name of development.  Today, ERI has offices in Chiang Mai, Thailand; Washington D.C.; Lima, Peru; as well as staff based in Yangon, Myanmar. Our diverse staff of approximately 50 full-time members is comprised of environmental and human rights lawyers, local human rights investigators, teachers, international campaigners, and community organizers.