The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre), invites qualified individuals to apply for the position of Case Study Researcher. This is a consultancy position within a collaborative research project on the application of the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (OAU Refugee Convention) to refugee displacements in the context of the effects of climate change, environmental degradation, and disasters in Africa.  This research project seeks to explore the impact of climate change, environmental degradation, and disasters on ‘public order’ within the framework of Article I(2) of the OAU Refugee Convention.

The purpose of the project is fourfold:

  1. To better understand each specific situation and the actual impact of the effects of climate change, environmental degradation and disasters on the public order of a country and on peoples’ lives in specific situations.
  2. To identify, test and assess a set of indicia that may be relevant to the interpretation of the public order-related criterion under the OAU Convention.
  3. To shed light on when and how the effects of climate change and environmental degradation and the impacts of disasters seriously disturb public order, as well as specific factors linked to a serious disturbance of public order that compel people to leave and seek refuge abroad. Equally, it will also explore specific elements/circumstances that might permit affected people to remain in the country.
  4. To draw from these findings, based on sound legal analysis, recommendations for the application of article I(2) of the OAU Convention for the protection of people displaced across borders in the context of the adverse effects of climate change, environmental degradation and the impacts of disasters.

This research is furthermore aimed at identifying and analysing (i) the effects that climate change and environmental degradation and the impacts of disasters, either independently or in combination with other factors or risks, have on a country’s ‘public order’ and (ii) the factors compelling people in such situations to leave their homes and seek refuge abroad.

In order to achieve the above-mentioned purposes, this research project will undertake case studies in selected countries of Southern Africa, namely, Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, and Malawi. The Centre is looking for interested applicants who meet the following criteria:


  • Master’s degree or above in international refugee law, human rights law, political science, or any other relevant field is required.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the OAU Refugee Convention, and forced displacement in the context of climate change, disasters and environmental degradation is required.
  • At least 3 years of experience in data collection and report writing in a related field is required.
  • Proficiency in both written and spoken Portuguese is required.
  • Residency in Mozambique is required, and willingness and ability to travel to Malawi.

Duration of the assignment: 1 September - 31 October 2023.

As a case study researcher, your responsibilities will include:

  1. Attending case study training to ensure a solid grasp of research objectives and methodologies.
  2. Conducting desk-based research and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data on each specific case study. Research sources may include publications of United Nations agencies, scholarly literature, online encyclopedias and grey literature, including news articles and reputable blogs.
  3. Carrying out field research: Collect case study data, including through semi-structured interviews with relevant experts and affected persons (either in person or via virtual methods). This also includes government responses to the ‘disturbance’ as well as government responses to displacement.
  4. Conducting a comprehensive analysis of the responses and findings in response to the identified research questions.
  5. Conducting field visits both in the country of origin (Mozambique) and country of asylum (Malawi).
  6. Submitting a report to the lead researcher, co-lead researcher and the Centre; incorporate feedback, and present the report at a meeting to be organised by the Centre; incorporate further feedback in the report and submit a final report to the Centre, the lead researcher and co-lead researcher.
  7. Conducting other tasks as required by the Centre for Human Rights.

To apply:

Interested candidates are invited to submit their applications, including a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and supporting documents, to Victoria Amaechi (email: Victoria.amaechi@up.ac.za) copying in Abiy Ashenafi (email: Abiy.ashenafi@up.ac.za) by 20 August 2023. NB: Please insert ‘CSR Mozambique-Malawi’ in the subject line of your email.**

We anticipate a high volume of applications, and we appreciate your understanding that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted to proceed to the next stage of the recruitment process.


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