Freedom of Expression

Fellowship “ Freedom of Expression Orlando Sierra”

About the Fellowship

Venue: Office of the Special Rapporteur of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Address:
1889 F Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20006,
United States of America.

Modality: On-site

Deadline to present applications: December 11, 2016

Start Date:  Februrary 15, 2017

Length of the Fellowship: 11 months


Objective:

To provide an opportunity for young journalists and lawyers from OAS Member States to understand and apply the mechanisms of protection of the inter-American system of human rights in the area of freedom of expression.  


Program
:

To assist with tasks of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission, under the supervision of the Special Rapporteur. The fellow will be assigned to monitoring activities carried out by the Office of the Special Rapporteur on the state of freedom of expression in the hemisphere. The fellowship is part of a project component whose objective is to provide capacity building to civil society for monitoring the right to freedom of expression and use of protection mechanisms of the inter-American system on human rights.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression was created in October, 1997 as a permanent office with functional independence and with own operative structure with the objective of stimulate the defense, guarantee and promotion the right to freedom of expression and information in the hemisphere. In March 1998, the IACHR defined the characteristics and functions of the Office of the Special Rapporteur and decided to create a voluntary fund to provide it with economic assistance.


Requirements:

  • Be a citizen of an OAS Member State;
  • Be bilingual in Spanish and English (attach certificates testifying thereto);
  • Applicants that are lawyers must have attended an officially accredited law school (a copy of the diploma and transcripts must be submitted) and must have obtained their law degree after January of 2007;
  • Applicants who are journalists may have majored in philosophy, literature, journalism, political science, social sciences or any other related field or have more than three years experience in the field of professional journalism. Professionals should have received a university degree after January 1, 2007. (a copy of the diploma and transcripts or certificates in related field work must be submitted);
  • Have a demonstrable professional interest in the legal field of human rights, specifically in the area of freedom of expression and access to information;

The following additional elements will be taken into consideration:

  • Knowledge and experience on human rights and groups in specially vulnerable conditions.
  • Knowledge/experience conducting or participating in journalistic or academic research or analyses related directly with the right to freedom of expression;
  • Professional experience with an organization that defends freedom of expression or press;
  • Knowledge of French or Portuguese (Official OAS languages).


Required documents:

The following documents are required in order to be considered for the fellowship:

  • Letter of interest.
  • Completed Fellowship Application
  • Two letters of recommendation,  (one of which should be from a freedom of expression organization or human rights organization).
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Certification of second language.
  • For lawyers, copy of law degree, grades obtained, and proof of registration as an attorney before the courts or the appropriate body. For other professionals, copy of degrees and grades obtained or certification of a minimum or four years’ professional experience as a practicing journalist;
  • Written paper of up to three pages developed under the following guideline:
  • Description of two events that ocurred in your country or in another country of the Americas in 2016 with an impact or a possible effect on the exercise of freedom of expression.
  • The facts should be narrated in a narrative and descriptive style including all the necessary information to understand the case in an accurate, concise and complete manner. At least two completely independent sources must be included to describe the case in accordance with the examples that can be found in Chapter II of the Annual Report 2015 of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.

  • At least one of the cases outlines needs to include a final paragraph assessing the situation of freedom of expression and access to public information in the light of the standards developed by the inter-American Human Rights System.


Benefits:

  • The Office of the Special Rapporteur of the IACHR provides a monthly stipend of US$3,200.00 for the period covered by the fellowship. With the stipend provided, the fellow is responsible for obtaining health insurance coverage of his/her choosing for the duration of the fellowship, and should provide proof of coverage to the Office of the Special Rapporteur of the IACHR.
  • Round-trip economy class air transportation from the participant’s country of residence to Washington, D.C. Terminal and transfer expenses are not covered.
  • The IACHR/Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression will award a certificate of participation in the Fellowship Program to the fellows who satisfactorily complete the entire period of the fellowship.


Responsibilities of the selected candidates:

  • Once an applicant has been selected, he/she should formally accept the fellowship in writing, confirming with the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights his/her availability to complete the fellowship during the specified time period. Once accepted, the IACHR will proceed with the necessary arrangements for purchase of round-trip economy air transportation between the candidate’s country of origin/residence and Washington, D.C.
  • In the event a candidate accepts a fellowship but cannot complete it, for whatever reason, he/she must immediately inform the Office of the Special Rapporteur of the IACHR so that the course of action may be decided.
  • It is the responsibility of each selected candidate to request and obtain the necessary visa to enter the United States, and/or transit visa (if applicable) in a timely manner. The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR will not incur any expense related to the processing of immigration or visa documents. The Office of the Special Rapporteur of the IACHR will provide the candidate a document certifying his/her selection as an official fellow of the IACHR so that he/she may request the corresponding visa, which is the sole responsibility of the selected candidate. In addition, the OAS will send a diplomatic note to the Embassy or Consulate where the selected candidate will be requesting his/her visa, certifying the fellow’s selection.
  • It is the responsibility of the selected candidate to arrive in a timely manner so that he/she will be present for the commencement of the fellowship on the date established by the Office of the Special Rapporteur of Freedom of Expression of the IACHR.
  • If the selected candidate declines the fellowship after the flight ticket has been purchased, or does not travel on the established dates or changes routes, the candidate shall reimburse the Office of the Special Rapporteur the cost of the flight ticket or any additional costs incurred. The latter includes any additional costs, if any, incurred by the IACHR, such as extra costs for accommodation during the candidate’s travel to and from Washington, D.C.
  • If the candidate resigns, cancels or terminates the fellowship after the program has begun without providing sufficient reason and evidence to the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression for doing so, he/she will fully reimburse the Office for all costs incurred on his/her behalf.


Presentation of candidates:

The application and other required documents must be submitted to the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR prior to the closing date of the application period by email to:

relatorialibertadexpresion@gmail.com

NOTICE: This fellowship is offered thanks to the support of the Swedish International Development Agency (ASDI)  to the project: “Freedom of Expression in the Americas” (2015-2017).