Assistant Protection Officer


Nov 8, 2019 (3 months ago) 0 Comments

Organizational Context

The Assistant Protection Officer reports to the Protection/Legal Officer and the Senior Development Officer. He/she monitors protection standards, operational procedures and practices in protection delivery in line with international standards. The Assistant Protection Officer is expected to: coordinate quality, timely and effective protection responses to the needs of populations of concern; and identify opportunities to mainstream protection methodologies and integrate protection safeguards in operational responses in all sectors. He/she contributes to designing a comprehensive protection strategy and represents the organization externally on protection doctrine and policy as guided by the supervisor.

He/she also ensures 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, local authorities and protection and assistance partners. 

General Background of Project or Assignment:   

Protection of forcibly displaced and stateless persons is at the core of UNHCR’s mandate and the number one and cross-cutting strategic direction for UNHCR. The primary responsibility for protection lies with States. Refugee protection requires a whole of government approach including strong asylum systems as well as strong institutions beyond asylum that are able to provide comprehensive, rights based, solutions oriented and protection sensitive services to persons of concern to UNHCR.

In September 2016 the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants was adopted. In line with this pronouncement, the Government of Ethiopia made nine pledges ‘to further improving the rights and services enjoyed by refugees in the country’, as outlined in the FDRE Road map’. In February 2017, Ethiopia became one of the first countries to initiate the practical application of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). Subsequently, Ethiopia revised its Refugee Proclamation and a National Comprehensive Refugee Response Strategy (NCRRS) is currently under development to guide the implementation of the CRRF and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) in Ethiopia for the benefit of both refugees and host communities. 

The FDRE Road map and draft NCRRS envisage a gradual move away from camp-based refugee assistance towards freedom of movement for refugees, as established in the 2019 Refugee Proclamation, in order to promote their self-reliance and inclusion into national systems.  The CRRF approach envisages substantial additional investments by development partners in order to – as a priority - strengthen national systems and services that can also support the inclusion agenda. 

The international community has already demonstrated strong commitment to support the Government of Ethiopia in the implementation of its pledges and the NCRRS. For instance, the World Bank is supporting the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) with an Ethiopian Economic Opportunities Program of the World Bank and its pilot – The Employment Promotion and Protection Package (EPP). Similarly, programs such as the DFID-funded SHARPE program and the Netherlands funded Inclusive Jobs and Livelihoods program will commence implementation, not to mention other smaller livelihoods and job creation projects being implemented by NGOs around various refugee camps in Ethiopia. Partners such as UNICEF, DFID and the EU are also working on the inclusion of refugees into national services in various sectors, including education, health, WASH, and social protection.

These progressive developments entail a new landscape within which refugee protection and support must be adjusted and strengthened by finding innovative and complementary alternatives to camp-based protection assistance, including looking at local and national systems, institutions and capacities as part of the solution. The need for more practical operational tools and comprehensive protection analysis with a development/governance lens have been identified as necessary to better support the government and other actors to more effectively engage international development actors and to support socio-economic inclusion activities of refugees in an out of camp context.


  • The protection of populations of concern is met through the application of International and National Law, relevant UN/UNHCR protection standards and IASC principles.
  • Protection activities are guided by the protection strategy and respect the policy of UNHCR on age, gender and diversity (AGD).
  • The participation of persons of concern is assured through continuous assessment and evaluation using participatory, rights and community-based approaches.

Protection incidents are immediately identified and addressed 


  • Stay abreast of political, social, economic and cultural developments that have an impact on the protection environment.
  • Consistently apply International and National Law and applicable UN/UNHCR and IASC policy, standards and codes of conduct.
  • Assist in providing comments on existing and draft legislation related to persons of concern.
  • Provide legal advice and guidance on protection issues to persons of concern; liaise with competent authorities to ensure the issuance of personal and other relevant documentation.
  • Conduct eligibility and status determination for persons of concern in compliance with UNHCR procedural standards and international protection principles.
  • Promote and contribute to measures to identify, prevent and reduce statelessness.
  • Contribute to a country-level child protection plan as part of the protection strategy.
  • Contribute to a country-level education plan as part of the protection strategy.
  • Provide inputs for the development of global / regional international protection policies and standards.
  • Implement and monitor Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all protection/solutions activities.
  • Manage individual protection cases including those on SGBV and child protection. Monitor, and intervene in cases of refoulement, expulsion and other protection incidents.
  • Assess needs for Promote and find durable solutions for the largest possible number of persons of concern through voluntary repatriation, local integration and where appropriate, resettlement.
  • Assess resettlement needs and apply priorities for the resettlement of individuals and groups of refugees and other persons of concern.
  • Contribute to the design, implementation and evaluation of protection related AGD based programming with implementing and operational partners.
  • Contribute to and facilitate a programme of results-based advocacy with sectorial and/or cluster partners.
  • Contribute to and facilitate effective information management through the provision of disaggregated data on populations of concern and their problems.
  • Contribute to capacity-building initiatives for communities and individuals to assert their rights.
  • Participate in initiatives to capacitate authorities, relevant institutions and NGOs to strengthen national protection related legislation and procedures.


  • Intervene with authorities on protection issues.
  • Decide priorities for reception, interviewing and counselling for groups or individuals.
  • Enforce compliance of staff and implementing partners with global protection policies and standards of professional integrity in the delivery of protection services.
  • Enforce compliance with, and integrity of, all protection standard operating procedures.
  • Recommend and prepare payments to individual cases.

Essential Minimum Qualifications and Experience

  • Undergraduate degree (equivalent of a BA/BS) in Law, International Law, political Sciences or related field plus minimum 1 years of previous work experience relevant to the function. Graduate degree (equivalent of a Master’s) or Doctorate degree (equivalent of a PhD) may also be accepted.
  • Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.
  • Good drafting skills in English.

Managerial and Cross Functional Competencies

  • Judgement and Decision Making
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

Desirable Qualifications & Competencies

  • Graduate degree (equivalent of a Master’s) or Doctorate degree (equivalent of a PhD) in relevant field;
  • Diverse field experience desirable.
  • Excellent drafting skills in English;
  • Prior experience working with UNHCR;
  • Prior experience working in refugee protection and/or law;
  • Good computer skills;
  • Completion of the Protection Learning Programme;
  • Knowledge of more than one local language.

Submission of Applications

This vacancy is open for qualified Ethiopians only.

Female candidates are encouraged to apply.

UNHCR is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization. 


Applicants who wish to be considered for this position should send a motivation letter, the most recent factsheet and the new updated P11 Form through the online application system.

Candidates will be required to sit for a test.

Due to the volume of applications only short-listed candidates will be invited for interview. 


Refugees – who cares?   We Do.