Legal Expert


Nov 8, 2019 (3 months ago) 0 Comments

Background Information 

Ethiopia’s commitment to protect refugees is long-established and has been further strengthened in recent years. Following the adoption of the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) made nine pledges to improve access to rights and services by refugees. One of the nine pledges, referred to as the Out of Camp Pledge, focuses on the expansion of the 2010 Out of Camp Policy to benefit 10% of the current total number of refugees, regardless of their nationality. Ethiopia also officially became a CRRF roll-out country. A Roadmap for the implementation of the pledges and the application of the CRRF was published in 2017. More recently, the country’s House of People’s Representatives promulgated a new Refugee Proclamation (No. 1110/2019), which includes provisions on the right to work, freedom of movement and the right to property, amongst others. The implementation of the Proclamation will be further refined through the enactment of secondary legislation. The GoE has also drafted a National Comprehensive Refugee Response Strategy (NCRRS), which, once adopted, will be implemented through national and regional action plans. The NCRRS notes the aim to gradually move from a camp-based model of assistance to an out-of-camp oriented one within ten years.

Addressing a vast array of needs, the overall objective of these positive developments can be summarised as achieving durable solutions for refugees and easing the pressure on refugee hosting communities. These developments laid the foundation for increased support to the GoE to achieve this overall objective. One example of such support is the partnership between the Government of the Netherlands, World Bank, IFC, ILO, UNHCR and UNICEF (Partnership), which aims at the sustainable socio-economic integration of forcibly displaced populations in host communities through a four-year (mid 2019-2023) project in two geographic areas. The Partnership targets host communities, refugees and IDPs (especially youth and women) and its envisaged outcomes include: 1) increased job/self-employment for the target group; 2) transfer of skills to the target group for a successful transition to and engagement with jobs and livelihoods; and 3) the strengthening and expansion of the enabling environment for decent work, legal and social protection to build inclusion and reduce vulnerability of the target group.


While great progress has been made, this Out of Camp Study will produce detailed technical findings towards supporting the fulfilment of the various aforementioned commitments. This would also contribute to the design of pilot projects which align with the government’s development plans and could be implemented as part of the four-year Partnership. This Study proposes to focus on the housing, land and property (HLP) issues that may present obstacles or opportunities for the socio-economic integration of refugees.

For instance, while generally an out-of-camp approach contributes to self-reliance and, indeed, increases job and livelihood opportunities, initiatives aimed at creating livelihood and job opportunities inherently trigger questions around access to housing and/or land by its beneficiaries. For instance, in case job opportunities are offered at a significant distance from a refugee camp, is there sufficient, accessible and secure adequate housing available in the area of employment? What about the Rent to Income Ratio? How do we ensure that an influx of labourers does not result in significant rental fee increases in the area? In case of agricultural activities, how confident is a refugee that his/her access to land is secure enough to indeed invest resources in it?

The overall objective of the Study is to identify the HLP obstacles and opportunities for the socio-economic integration of refugees in host communities. The specific objectives of the Study are to: 1) enable evidence-based findings to inform the approach towards HLP-related issues in national/regional action plans; and 2) inform the design of two to three pilot projects to address identified HLP-related challenges/opportunities for the socio-economic integration of refugees.

To this end, UNHCR is seeking to engage a national Legal Expert as part of the study’s research team.

The national Legal Expert will be responsible for:

  • Compiling and analysing relevant national and regional laws, regulations and policies (e.g. housing policies, land laws, environmental laws, urbanisation regulations) in selected refugee hosting areas (Somali Region, Tigray and Afar);
  • Analysing the implementation of relevant national and regional laws, regulations and policies in selected refugee hosting areas;
  • Providing a concise overview of the HLP-related rights that refugees currently hold under national (e.g. Refugee Proclamation No. 1110/2019) and applicable international laws, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR);
  • Outlining key challenges and opportunities presented by existing legislation and their implementation for the protection of HLP rights of refugees in the context of the Out-of-Camp Pledge;
  • Supporting the Land and Housing Expert in identifying and analysing relevant customary/traditional practices of relevance to HLP in selected refugee hosting areas;
  • Analysing the legal consequences of proposed efforts aimed at transforming refugee camps into village-type settlements and at supporting existing social housing and land allocation programmes; and
  • Providing recommendations to overcome possible legal challenges.

As a member of the study’s research team, the national Legal Expert will contribute to:

  • Drafting of the various tools to be used during the study, as well as planning of research activities in Addis Ababa and selected refugee hosting regions (e.g. key informant interviews, Focus Group Discussions);
  • Drafting of the study’s final report with sub-sections on the results of each of the activities conducted in Phase One of the study; and
  • Development of the proposals for the pilot projects in the selected areas of the Somali, Tigray and/or Afar regions.

The national Legal Expert will report progress on deliverables to the study’s Research Coordinator and designated UNHCR colleagues on a bi-monthly basis;


  • University degree (preferably Masters’ level) in law;
  • A minimum of seven years of relevant practical experience working on the protection of human rights in Ethiopia;
  • Strong research skills (e.g. data collection, analytical and writing skills);
  • Strong communication and inter-personal skills;
  • Strong English and Amharic language skills - both written and spoken.
  • Tigrinya or other relevant local language skills;
  • Experience in working on the protection of housing and/or land rights in Ethiopia;
  • Experience in working on displacement-related matters; and
  • Experience in project design.

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 and the most recent fact sheets through the online application system. 

Candidates may 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.