The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950, by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has the mandate to help stateless people.
- The Senior Protection Officer (SPO) is Head of the Protection Unit in a Country or Sub-Office and reports to the Assistant or Deputy Representative for Protection, directly to the Representative or as appropriate, to the Head of Sub-Office.
- The incumbent has direct supervisory responsibility for protection staff who may include community services, registration, resettlement, and education.
- He/she provides functional protection oversight to information management and programme staff and supervises protection standards, operational procedures, and practices in protection delivery at the country level.
- The incumbent also acts as an advisor to senior management in designing a comprehensive protection strategy and represents the organization to authorities, UN sister agencies, partners and other stakeholders on protection policy and doctrine.
- The Senior Protection Officer is normally a member of the Office senior management team and is relied upon by the Office to plan, lead and coordinate quality, timely and effective protection responses to the needs of populations of concern.
- This includes ensuring that operational responses in all sectors are shaped in a protection optic, mainstream protection methodologies and integrate protection safeguards.
- Another important element of the SPO's functions is to ensure that persons of concern are involved with the Office in making decisions that affect them, whether in accessing their rights or in identifying appropriate solutions to their problems.
- To achieve this, the incumbent will need to build and maintain effective interfaces with communities of concern, authorities, protection and assistance partners as well as a broader network of stakeholders who can contribute to enhancing protection.
- The protection needs of populations of concern are met through the application of International and National Law, relevant UN/UNHCR protection standards and IASC principles governing humanitarian coordination.
- The operation has a clear and coherent comprehensive protection strategy which incorporates a thorough age, gender and diversity (AGD) analysis and reflects the Organization's global, regional and country level priorities.
- The Participation of persons of concern is assured through continuous assessment and evaluation using participatory, rights and community-based approaches.
- National protection capacities are improved through direct engagement, research and advocacy with all relevant external interlocutors.
- Instances of refoulement of refugees, forced the return of IDPs, arbitrary deprivation of nationality resulting in statelessness and other protection incidents are immediately identified and addressed through direct intervention and advocacy.
- Stay abreast of political, social, economic and cultural developments that have an impact on the protection environment.
- Manage a consultative process with government counterparts, partners and persons of concern to develop and implement a comprehensive protection strategy addressing the specific protection needs of women and men, children, youth and older persons, persons with disabilities, minority groups such as sexual minorities and persons living with HIV/AIDS; and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) priorities with regard to these persons.
- In operations applying the Cluster Approach, ensure the response of the Protection Cluster is grounded in a strategy which covers all assessed and prioritized protection needs of the affected populations.
- Ensure that the protection strategy is fully integrated into the Country Operations Plan, the UN Development and Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the Humanitarian Country Team's common humanitarian action plan.
- Promote International and National Law and applicable UN/UNHCR and IASC policy, standards and codes of conduct and ensure that all sectors and /or in clusters in applicable operations fulfill their responsibilities mainstreaming protection.
- Design, deliver and monitor programmes on an AGD basis to address identified protection needs.
- Provide technical guidance and support to UNHCR and partners on all protection related issues.
- Oversee the management of individual protection cases including those on SGBV and child protection.
- Provide legal advice and guidance on protection issues to internal and external interlocutors; ensure legal assistance is accessible to persons of concern; liaise with competent authorities to ensure the issuance of personal and other relevant documents to persons of concern (women and civil documentation in particular birth certificates).
- Oversee eligibility and status determination in the country ensuring compliance with UNHCR procedural standards and international protection principles.
- Promote and implement measures to identify, prevent and reduce statelessness.
- Develop and implement a country-level education plan as part of the protection strategy and ensure partnerships are forged with the Ministry for Education, UNICEF and other partners.
- Develop and implement a country-level child protection plan as part of the protection strategy ensuring programmes use a child protection systems approach.
- Monitor, and intervene in cases of refoulement, expulsion and other protection incidents through working relations with governments and other partners.
- Implement and oversee Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all protection/solutions activities.
- Ensure that durable solutions through voluntary repatriation, local integration and where appropriate, resettlement are sought and provided to the largest possible number of persons of concern.
- Coordinate the design, implementation and evaluation of protection related programming with implementing and operational partners.
- Develop and implement a programme of results-based advocacy through a consultative process with sectorial and/or cluster partners.
- Ensure that the Protection Sector or Cluster has an effective information management component which: provides disaggregated data on populations of concern and their problems; researches, collects and disseminates relevant protection information and good practices to enhance protection delivery.
- Build the protection capacity of national and local government, partners and civil society to assume their responsibilities vis-à-vis all persons of concern through protection training, mainstreaming and related activities.
- Coordinate capacity-building initiatives for communities and individuals to assert their rights.
- Advise and capacitate national authorities, relevant institutions and civil society to strengthen legislation and status determination procedures and mechanisms.
- Approve the protection strategy for endorsement by the Deputy / Representative and Regional Office or Headquarters.
- Chair protection coordination meetings, including Protection Cluster meetings in applicable operations and represent the protection sector/cluster in inter-agency mechanisms.
- Issue advocacy statements on behalf of UNHCR in protection sectoral meetings and/or on behalf of the Protection Cluster in applicable operations.
- Intervene with authorities on protection issues.
- Negotiate locally and as appropriate with resettlement countries and countries of return on behalf of UNHCR.
- Take review decisions on individual cases.
- Enforce compliance of staff and partners with global protection policies and standards of professional integrity in the delivery of protection services.
- Approve expenditures under the UNHCR protection budget and direct transparent and accountable financial and other resource allocation within the Protection Cluster in applicable operations.
- Graduate degree (the equivalent of a Master's) in Law, International Law, Political Sciences or related field with good knowledge of International Refugee, Human Rights, and Humanitarian Law plus minimum 8 years of previous work experience relevant to the function of which 3 years in the field and 5 years in an international capacity.
- Undergraduate degree (the equivalent of a BA/BS) plus 9 years or Doctorate degree (the equivalent of a PhD) plus 7 years of previous relevant work experience may also be accepted.
- Excellent knowledge of English and working knowledge of another UN language. (In offices where the working language is not English, excellent knowledge of UN working language of duty station and working knowledge of English.)
- For National Officer positions, very good knowledge of local language and local institutions is essential.
- Diverse field experience desirable.
- Good IT skills including database management skills.
- Completion of the Protection Learning Programme, RSD-Resettlement Learning Programme and Management Learning Programme desirable.
- C001L3 - Accountability Level 3
- C002L3 - Teamwork & Collaboration Level 3
- C003L3 - Communication Level 3
- C004L3 - Commitment to Continuous Learning Level 3
- C005L3 - Client & Result Orientation Level 3
- C006L3 - Organizational Awareness Level 3
- M001L3 - Empowering and Building Trust Level 3
- M002L3 - Managing Performance Level 3
- M006L3 - Managing Resources Level 3
- M005L3 - Leadership Level 3
- M003L3 - Judgement and Decision Making Level 3
- M004L3 - Strategic Planning and Vision Level 3
- X005L3 - Planning and Organizing Level 3
- X004L3 - Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Level 3
- X007L3 - Political Awareness Level 3
- Before submitting an application, UNHCR staff members intending to apply to this Job Opening are requested to consult the Recruitment and Assignments Policy (RAP, UNHCR/HCP/2017/2 and the Recruitment and Assignments Administrative Instruction (RAAI), UNHCR/AI/2017/7 of 15th August 2017.
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