Protection Officer at UNHCR Canada. 338 views



Title of Post Protection Officer Category/grade NOC
Post Number 10032277 Type of contract Fixed-Term
Location Ottawa, Canada Date of Issue 20 May 2020
Effective date of ASAP Closing Date 3 June 2020


Operational Context:


UNHCR is regarded as an authoritative source of guidance on matters relating to refugee status determination (RSD), including guidance on the profiles of groups at risk in their country of origin, as well as on the feasibility of return and the availability of effective protection in a third country. Against this background, the incumbent will be responsible for country of origin information (COI) research in the region in line with UNHCR’s quality standards; and for interpreting legal standards in specific country contexts and the drafting of inputs for UNHCR country-specific policy guidance. The incumbent will also be responsible for the identification and prioritization of COI needs in UNHCR’s RSD operations and in State asylum systems, and for the preparation of Terms of Reference for the purposes of outsourcing COI products to UNHCR’s expert partner organizations on COI. The incumbent will support the development and implementation of UNHCR’s regional COI project, in close coordination with the RDS Unit in the Regional Bureau for the Americas. The incumbent will work closely with UNHCR staff responsible for RSD, registration, resettlement and training activities in UNHCR operations in the region. S/he will work and coordinate closely with relevant focal points in UNHCR’s Division for International Protection, in particular the COI/Country Guidance team of the RSD Section and other HQ Divisions.


The Protection Officer will work under the direct supervision of the Senior RSD Officer based in Regional Bureau for the Americas in Panama.




  • Exceptional research, analytical and drafting skills; experience of asylum decision-making/RSD and a thorough understanding of the role of COI in these processes;


  • Ability to do research and draft in Spanish;


  • University Degree in law, political science, international relations or another related field;


  • Familiarity with the Americas, preferably by having worked in a relevant field duty station in the Americas. Alternatively, substantive experience working with refugees from the Americas region;


  • Working knowledge of international refugee law (incl. relevant UNHCR policies and guidelines), international human rights law and international humanitarian law, RSD procedures and institutions;


  • Experience researching or working directly with COI, in the context of the adjudication of individual asylum claims in RSD or asylum procedures. Specific experience on Americas countries is highly desirable;


  • Experience in planning and providing training is desirable.


Organizational Setting and Work Relationships


In the Bureaux, the Protection Officer works under the direct supervision of the Senior Protection Coordinator or Senior Protection Officer. In the Field, the incumbent normally reports to the Representative, Deputy or Assistant


Representative (Protection), Head of Sub Office or Senior Protection Officer as appropriate. The incumbent may have direct supervisory responsibility for protection staff whose work may include RSD, community-based protection, registration, resettlement, complementary pathways, internal displacement and education, among other areas. In HQ, the incumbent may report to a Senior Protection Officer, Chief of Section or Deputy Director and may supervise other protection staff.


The incumbent acts as an advisor to senior management in, when not responsible for, designing a comprehensive protection strategy under the area of responsibility (AoR). S/he represents the Organization to authorities, UN sister agencies, partners and other stakeholders on protection policy and doctrine.


The Protection Officer coordinates quality, timely and effective protection responses to the needs of populations of concern under the AoR. S/he ensures that persons of concern of all age, gender and diversity groups are involved with the Office in making decisions that affect them, whether in accessing their rights or in identifying and implementing appropriate solutions to their problems. To undertake this role effectively, the incumbent will need to build and maintain effective interfaces with other relevant teams within the operation or the Bureau (including programme; PI and external relations; IM) and with DIP, communities of concern, authorities, protection and assistance partners as well as a broader network of stakeholders who can contribute to enhancing protection and achieving solutions.


All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR’s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.




  • Provide technical guidance and support to UNHCR and partners on all protection related issues.


  • Stay abreast of and report as relevant on legal political, social, economic and cultural developments that have an impact on the protection environment.


  • Engage relevant national authorities and structures in identifying and expanding opportunities in view of developing or strengthening national asylum/RSD systems.


  • Facilitate a consultative process with government counterparts, partners and persons of concern to develop and implement a comprehensive protection and solutions strategy addressing the specific protection needs of women and men, children, youth and older persons, persons with disabilities, persons of diverse sexual orientation and/or gender identities (LGBTI persons), persons living with HIV/AIDS; gender equality and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) priorities with regard to these persons.


  • In operations applying the Cluster Approach, seek to ensure the response of the Protection Cluster is grounded in a strategy which covers all assessed and prioritized protection needs of the affected populations.


  • Support senior management to ensure the protection strategy is fully integrated into the Country Operations Plan, the UN Development and Assistance Framework (UNDAF), the Humanitarian Country Team’s common humanitarian response plan where applicable, as well as with the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees and the Three Year Strategy on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways.


  • Promote relevant International, Regional 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 fulfil their responsibilities in mainstreaming protection.


  • Promote the implementation of the AGD policy, including UNHCR’s updated commitments to women and girls, and, design, deliver I and monitor programmes on an AGD basis to address identified protection needs.


  • Develop, implement and monitor community-based protection strategies and ensure systematic application and integration of participatory and community-based approaches in protection and solutions planning, programming and strategies.


  • Support the establishment of feedback and response systems and the incorporation of feedback received from persons of concern into programme design and adaptation.


  • Support the operation to develop and implement robust prevention, identification, and responses to fraud within protection processes and procedures, including registration, RSD, resettlement and complementary pathways, ensuring the integrity of interventions across all protection activities.


  • Assist UNHCR management at country level to comply with polices and commitment on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse measures.


  • Oversee and manage 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 (including women and others in need of civil documentation, in particular birth certificates).


  • As designated Data Protection Focal Point, assist the data controller in carrying out his or her responsibilities regarding the Data Protection Policy (7.2 DPP).


  • Oversee and undertake eligibility and status determination within the AoR ensuring compliance with UNHCR procedural standards and international protection principles.


  • Promote and implement effective strategies and measures to identify, prevent and reduce statelessness within the AoR.


  • Contribute to the development and implementation of an education plan as part of protection strategy within the AoR as relevant.


  • Contribute to the development and implementation of a child protection plan as part of the protection strategy within the AoR 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.


  • Work to safeguard the rights of persons of concern in the context of mixed movements as relevant.


  • Coordinate the preparation of, 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 and complementary pathways are sought and provided to the largest possible number of persons of concern, including undertaking and/or overseeing resettlement and complementary pathways activities.


  • Contribute to the coordination of the design, implementation and evaluation of protection related programming with implementing and operational partners.


  • Contribute to and facilitate 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.


For positions in Bureaux


  • Support the Regional Bureau and Country Operations to reflect the protection and solution angle in support of persons of concern within regional processes.


  • Support Country Operations in the development of strategies to build and further develop national asylum/RSD systems with a view to ensuring their fairness, efficiency, adaptability and integrity, favourable protection environment and solutions.


  • Assist UNHCR management at regional and country level to comply with polices and commitment on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse measures.


  • Support Country Operations and ensure they meet their complementary pathways objectives and resettlement quotas.


  • In close collaboration with DIP, (a) contribute to the development of background and general normative, policy, and legal positions, in compliance with UNHCR’s global protection policies and standards; (b) contribute to the development of strategies at the regional and country level on the usage of law and policy approaches, including legislative and judicial engagement and UN human rights mechanisms –and/or regional ones – and other protection frameworks, and integrated human rights standards in protection strategies and advocacy; and (c) support coordination and review of UNHCR’s country reports to the UN human rights mechanisms.


  • Engage in relevant international and regional fora and contribute to forging regional partnerships to advocate for key protection and mandate issues, and engage in cross-cutting protection-related matters, including mixed movement, internal displacement and climate change/disaster-related displacement responses, as well as Statelessness, in cooperation with DIP and where relevant RSD.


  • Perform other related duties as required.


Minimum Qualifications


Education & Professional Work Experience


  • Years of Experience / Degree Level: For NOC – 6 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 5 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 4 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree


  • Field(s) of Education: Law; International Law; International Refugee Law; International Human Rights Law; International Humanitarian Law; Refugee and Forced Migration Studies; Political Sciences or other relevant field.


(Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)


  • Certificates and/or Licenses: Protection Learning Programme RSD Learning Programme Resettlement Learning Programme


(Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)


  • Relevant Job Experience


Essential: Minimum 4 years of relevant professional experience in the area of refugee protection, internal displacement, human rights or international humanitarian law, including experience of refugee status determination. Good knowledge of International Refugee and Human Rights Law and ability to apply the relevant legal principles. Excellent legal research, analytical skills and drafting.


Desirable: Diverse field experience. Good IT skills including database management skills.


  • Functional Skills


*PR-Protection-related guidelines, standards and indicators *LE-International Refugee Law

*PR-Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD)


PR-Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Coordination and Projects management PR-Comprehensive Solutions Framework


PR-Human Rights Doctrine/Standards PR-International Humanitarian Law LE-Judicial engagement PR-Protection and mixed-movements


PR-Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Operations & IDPs Status/Rights/Obligation PR-Climate change and disaster-related displacement


PR-Community-based Protection

PR-Accountability to affected people Principles and Framework


(Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential)


  • Language Requirements

For National Professional jobs: Fluency in English and Spanish.


Competency Requirements:


Core Competencies:




Organizational Awareness

Teamwork & Collaboration

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Client & Result Orientation


Managerial Competencies:

Managing Performance

Judgement and Decision Making


Empowering and Building Trust


Cross-Functional Competencies:

Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

Planning and Organizing


Political Awareness



Candidates must be Canadian Citizens



A competitive compensation and benefits package is offered. For information on UN salaries, allowances and benefits, please visit the portal of the International Civil Service Commission at:


Submission of Applications:

  • If you wish to be considered for this vacancy, please submit your letter of motivation, updated factsheet (for internals), signed Personal History Form (for externals) by e-mail clearly stating the position title and your Last Name in the subject line to: [email protected] by the closing date.
  • To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your e-mail & motivation letter where ( you saw this job posting. 


The Personal History Form and its supplementary sheet is attached.


No late applications will be accepted. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Shortlisted candidates will be required to sit for a written test and oral interview. UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview, processing or any other fees).


UNHCR strongly encourages qualified female applicants for this position. UNHCR seeks to ensure that male and female employees are given equal career opportunities. UNHCR is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality



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