Legal Researcher (Retainer)-Two Home-based Consultant Positions At UN Women

Legal Researcher (Retainer)-Two Home-based Consultant Positions At UN Women

LOCATIONHome-based with travel to Kabul, AFGHANISTAN
SALARYPaid (but not specified)
TYPE OF CONTRACT(National Consultant)
DURATIONT50 working days in twelve months
DEADLINE01-Feb-24 (Midnight New York, USA)

Legal Researcher (Retainer)-Two Home-based Consultant Positions At UN Women


UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security. Placing women’s rights at the center of all its efforts, UN Women leads and coordinates United Nations System efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It provides strong and coherent leadership in support of Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective partnerships with civil society and other relevant actors.

Afghanistan is one of the world’s most complex emergencies, and the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Afghan people are grappling with the impact of conflict, poverty, economic decline, and natural disasters. In this context, Afghan women and girls face unique vulnerabilities and require urgent support as gender inequality is interwoven with conflict dynamics and humanitarian needs. It is essential that Afghan women and girls can continue to shape the development of their country, and that their gains are protected. UN Women remains fully committed to supporting Afghan women and girls and to putting them at the center of the global response to the crisis in Afghanistan. 
UN Women has been in Afghanistan for two decades. UN Women’s programming approach is informed by analysis of the political, economic and humanitarian situation, risks to and capacities of partner organizations, and needs of Afghan women and girls. UN Women Afghanistan currently has four key programme priorities: (1) Gender in Humanitarian Action, (2) Ending Violence Against Women, (3) Women’s Economic Empowerment, and (4) Women, Peace and Security.

Objective of the Assignment:

The Taliban have enacted decrees and directives in areas under their control since 20141 and – with increased scope and frequency – since their takeover of the country in 2021. Since then, more than 70 decrees and directives have been enacted that specifically target and restrict the rights and freedoms of women and girls, and a multitude of other directives also have a (to date, unexamined) impact on women and girls in Afghanistan. Formal decrees issued nationally by the DFA are inconsistently enforced at provincial levels and exist alongside a hodgepodge of provincial level decrees and (ad hoc as well as systematized) practices.
Afghanistan ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (hereafter CEDAW) in 2003, and as such the Taliban (or de facto authorities) remain bound by state obligations under the Convention. Many of these decrees and directives are unequivocally contrary to state obligations under CEDAW, and others not explicitly targeting women and girls must be examined in further detail. The Special Coordinator’s assessment delivered in November 2023 described the importance of the de facto authorities’ adherence to their obligations under international treaties in developing a pathway to international engagement and recognition.2 

The impact of this patchwork of decrees and directives on women and girls can only be understood by examining their situation on the ground, how decrees and directives are implemented and enforced and which practices are effected by local de facto authorities. In this way, it is critical to examine not only the legal framework as it relates to CEDAW, and thus women’s rights, but also the actual situation for women and girls on the ground as per their rights and state obligations under CEDAW.

Given the systematic and institutionalized discrimination against women and girls currently in Afghanistan under the de facto authorities, it is critical to examine how their decrees, directives and practices impact the lives of Afghan women and stand against the rights of Afghan women and Afghanistan’s state obligations under CEDAW.

Task Description

Under the direct supervision of the WPS Programme Manager, the consultant will be responsible to research to catalogue the de facto authorities’ decrees, directives and practices as well as the situation of women on the ground (equality in fact and in results). This research will feed into a legal analysis of how situation of women on the ground and under the DFA legal framework measure against the rights of Afghan women and Afghanistan’s state obligations under CEDAW. 

The consultancy will be divided into two areas of work: (A) fixed deliverables related to analyzing Afghanistan’s CEDAW obligations; and (B) ongoing deliverables related to monitoring and analyzing the evolving context.

Scope of the Assignment

A. Fixed deliverables:

Phase 1

  1. Undertake a desk review to compile (and where necessary, translate from Pashto/Dari to English) a list of all de facto authorities’ decrees and directives from 2014 to 2023. The parameters of decrees to be included will be determined jointly with UN Women and UNAMA. 
  2. Provide advice and input, as requested, on legal analysis of compliance of decrees and directives with state obligations and women’s rights enshrined under CEDAW. 

Phase 2

  1. Examine how decrees and directives associated with specific CEDAW rights and obligations are being enforced on the ground across the country and identify any associated practices (ad hoc and systematized) currently in effect.  
  2. Research methodology will be determined jointly with UNAMA/UN Women – focus will be on qualitative research methods. Where practices have clearly linked foundations in local sociocultural and religious norms (customary law) this will also be noted and potentially examined.  
  3. Provide advice and input, as requested, on legal analysis of de facto authorities’ practices and the situation of girls and women on the ground in relation to agreed-upon CEDAW rights and obligations. 

B. Ongoing tasks:

  1. Provide contextually relevant and up-to-date advice on political, legal, and human rights developments in Afghanistan as they relate to gender equality and women’s rights. 
  2. Translate and analyze existing and new decrees and directives enacted by de facto authorities.
  3. Document and analyze existing and new practices effected by de facto authorities (at a local, provincial and national level), particularly those which are systematized or institutionalized.


Fixed deliverables (January-June 2024)

• Maintain and update working database listing translated decrees and directives to allow for concurrent political and legal analysis (ongoing).

• Submit a final report that outlines the situation of girls and women on the ground in relation to agreed-upon CEDAW rights and obligations (15 May 2023).

Ongoing deliverables (June – December 2024)

• Conduct rapid legal and political analysis, at the request of ACO, to analyze decrees and their implications for women’s rights and gender equality. 

• Provide Ongoing advice and analysis providing up-to-date documentation and analysis of political, legal and human rights developments and institutionalized practices (ongoing, at the request of ACO). 


Core Values

• Respect for Diversity;

• Integrity;

• Professionalism.

Core Competencies

• Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues;

• Accountability;

• Creative Problem Solving;

• Effective Communication;

• Inclusive Collaboration;

• Stakeholder Engagement;

• Leading by Example.



• Master’s degree in a relevant field related to social sciences such as law, politics, international relations, or a related field. 

• Bachelor’s degree in the above disciplines with two years of additional relevant experience may be considered in lieu of a master’s degree.


• With master’s degree, at least 7 years of progressively responsible work experience in related field.

• Excellent knowledge of the sociocultural, religious, and political context of Afghanistan both currently and during the past 10 years. 

• Strong proficiency in conducting legal analysis and drafting reports.

• Demonstrable experience in conducting research in Afghanistan on gender-related issues.  

• Demonstrable experience translating complex language from Pashto into English.

• Previous relevant experience with UN Agencies, international organisations or donors would be a strong advantage.

Language Requirements:

• Fluency in written and spoken English and Pashto is required

How to apply?

Interested candidates should apply for this opportunity by following the link below:

Carlos Seth

Carlos Seth is an international recruitment consultant with more than 10 years experience in global recruitment and executive search.

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