400px United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees logo Associate Protection Officer

Associate Protection Officer

UN High Commissioner for Refugees


Mission and objectives

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. In addition to 2.6 million of internally displaced persons, mainly, living in south/central Somalia, as of 31 August 2021, Somalia is hosting 27,184 refugees and asylum seekers in need of a durable solution. The active refugee population in Somaliland is approx. 14,000 refugees and asylum seekers as of 31 August 2021. Most of the refugees live in urban centres in Somaliland and Puntland. The majority of refugees and asylum-seekers originate from Ethiopia mainly from Oromo ethnicity while the rest are from different nationalities such as Eritrea, Yemen, Syria, and other nationalities.


The Associate Protection Officer is part of the protection team based in the Representation Office in Mogadishu. The incumbent of the position will report to the Durable Solutions Officer. S/he is broadly responsible for supporting the implementation of the Multi Year, Multi Partner Protection and Solutions Strategy (MYMPSS) and other sectoral/thematic strategies. In particular, s/he assists in the timely and accurate provision of detailed information on country conditions to refugees who may be considering returning to their country of origin, which is an essential requirement in ensuring an informed decision to return voluntarily is made. This is particularly so in the context of returns to Somalia, where the humanitarian and security situation remains precarious, and extremely fluid. Secondly, Somalia is a country of origin, transit, and destination of mixed movements of refugees, migrants, and other persons with specific needs. The Associate Protection Officer supports the effective coordination of UNHCR’s mixed migration activities at the national level and in the Federal Member States. Thirdly, the Somalia Operation anticipates to receive returnees from Kenya, Yemen, and other asylum countries in addition to the already existing programmes of IDPs and refugees. This has in turn increased the volume of proposals, reports and the Association Protection Officer supports the systematic management of performance and impact monitoring information. Finally, the Associate Protection Officer will represent UNHCR in different interagency coordination forums (including Mixed Migration Task Forces, UN Network on Migration and its Working Groups), and will contribute to the design of key protection and solutions documents including strategies, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and guidelines notes.

Task description

• Through relationships with persons of concern, authorities and network of partners stay abreast of political, social, economic and cultural developments that have an impact on the protection environment and provide advice to senior management.

• Ensure that the perspectives, capacities, needs and resources of the persons of concerns are reflected in the protection strategy, planning processes and operations plan 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;

• Utilize the IDPs footprint during the planning process;

• Coordinate the promotion of international refugee law principles and standards and also IDP legislation or policies ensuring that all sectors and clusters fulfill their responsibilities mainstreaming protection;

• Coordinate the implementation and monitoring of programmes ensuring that identified protection needs, including an Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD) approach, are adequately addressed;

• Provide policy guidance and operational support to UNHCR and partners on all protection related issues;

• 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 (civil documentation, in particular birth certificates);

• Monitor, and assist with the intervention in cases of refoulement, expulsion and other protection incidents through working relations with governments and other partners;

• Assist in the coordinated implementation and oversight of 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;

• Ensure through direct action and advocacy with more senior protection staff that the necessary resources are allocated to enable protection activities to identify and address protection and assistance gaps;

• Support a consultative process with government counterparts at local levels, partners and persons of concern to develop and implement integrated strategies that address the key protection priorities, including, for example, child protection, education and SGBV, and solutions approaches;

• Promote confidence building and conflict resolution among populations of concern, authorities and host communities;

• Maintain protection presence through regular field missions and reports, making direct contact with persons of concern, host communities, local authorities and partners. In operations applying the humanitarian cluster system, contribute to ensuring that the response of the Protection Cluster is grounded in an AGD-compliant strategy which covers all assessed and prioritized protection needs of the affected populations;

• Contribute to the Protection team’s information management component which: provide disaggregated data on populations of concern and their problems; researches, collects and disseminates relevant protection information and good practices to enhance protection delivery and provide technical advice if necessary;

• Ensure participatory, community-based protection and AGD approaches are included in, strategies and plans in the country operation;

• Support persons of concern to develop structures that enhance their participation and protection.


Required experience

3 years of experience in refugee work and/or other people of concern in a protection capacity required. Commitment to help persons of concern and willingness to cooperate with counterparts. Desirable

Qualifications and Skills: •Knowledge of UN policies and procedures; •Good analytical skills; •Strong interpersonal and communication skills in a multi-cultural setting; •Ability to live and work in the difficult and harsh conditions of developing countries is essential.

Computer skills: Office Package (excellent knowledge of Word, good knowledge of Excel and Power Point) and Internet browsing.


English, Level: Fluent, Desirable

Required education level

Bachelor degree or equivalent in Law, International Law, International Relations, Social Sciences, Political Sciences or related field.

Competencies and values

• Professionalism: demonstrated understanding of operations relevant to UNHCR; technical capabilities or knowledge relevant or transferrable to UNHCR procedures and rules; discretion, political sensitivity, diplomacy and tact to deal with clients; ability to apply good judgement; ability to liaise and coordinate with a range of different actors, especially in senior positions; where appropriate, high degree of autonomy, personal initiative and ability to take ownership; resourcefulness and willingness to accept wide responsibilities and ability to work independently under established procedures; ability to manage information objectively, accurately and confidentially; responsive and client-oriented;

• Integrity: demonstrate the values and ethical standards of the UN and UNHCR in daily activities and behaviours while acting without consideration of personal gains; resist undue political pressure in decision-making; stand by decisions that are in the organization’s interest even if they are unpopular; take prompt action in cases of unprofessional or unethical behaviour; does not abuse power or authority;

• Teamwork and respect for diversity: ability to operate effectively across organizational boundaries; excellent interpersonal skills; ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and harmonious working relations in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, mixed-gender environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity; sensitivity and adaptability to culture, gender, religion, nationality and age; commitment to implementing the goal of gender equality by ensuring the equal participation and full involvement of women and men in all aspects of UN operations; ability to achieve common goals and provide guidance or training to colleagues;

• Commitment to continuous learning: initiative and willingness to learn new skills and stay abreast of new developments in area of expertise; ability to adapt to changes in work environment.

• Planning and organizing: effective organizational and problem-solving skills and ability to manage a large volume of work in an efficient and timely manner; ability to establish priorities and to plan, coordinate and monitor (own) work; ability to work under pressure, with conflicting deadlines, and to handle multiple concurrent projects/activities;

• Communication: proven interpersonal skills; good spoken and written communication skills, including ability to prepare clear and concise reports; ability to conduct presentations, articulate options and positions concisely; ability to make and defend recommendations; ability to communicate and empathize with staff (including national staff), military personnel, volunteers, counterparts and local interlocutors coming from very diverse backgrounds; capacity to transfer information and knowledge to a wide range of different target groups;

• Flexibility: adaptability and ability to live and work in potentially hazardous and remote conditions, involving physical hardship and little comfort; to operate independently in austere environments for protracted periods; willingness to travel within the area of operations and to transfer to other duty stations within the area of operations as necessary;

• Genuine commitment towards the principles of voluntary engagement, which includes solidarity, compassion, reciprocity and self-reliance; and commitment towards UNHCR’s mission and vision, as well as to the UN Core Values.

How to apply

Interested candidates should apply for this opportunity by following the link: https://app.unv.org/api/doa/doa/1746773546875136/social.html

Closing date is 5 February 2024.

Deadline: 5 Feb 2024

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