Associate Protection Officer, UNOPS IICA-1, Nouadhibou at UN High Commissioner for Refugees

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is offering a full-time position within the Field Unit in Nouadhibou, Mauritania.

UNHCR is a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. Every year, millions of men, women and children are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. We are in over 125 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions.

Title: Associate Protection Officer

Duty Station: Nouadhibou, Mauritania

Duration: 6 months with the possibility of renewal

Contract Type: UNOPS International ICA 1 (equivalent to P2)

Closing date: 25th September 2022

Start date: 01st November 2022

Organisational context

Mauritania operates a relative open-door policy for refugees and asylum-seekers. While signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, its 1967 Protocol, and the 1969 Organization of African Union Convention, Mauritania does not have yet a national asylum system. A draft asylum law remains pending approval by the Council of Ministers. In this context, UNHCR conducts registration and refugee status determination, delivers UNHCR documentation, and supports durable solutions.

UNHCR works closely with Mauritanian authorities to enhance the protection of refugees in the country, improving access to documentation, birth registration, socio-economic opportunities, as well as basic services such as health and education. In a context marked by mixed movements, differentiated registration and refugee status determination procedures are implemented by UNHCR, including a merged registration-RSD procedure for Malians, and accelerated and simplified RSD procedures for other specific profiles and nationalities.

The Associate Protection Officer will work under the direct supervision of the Head of Field unit. Advice and operational support may also be received from other senior staff and support units at the Country Office.

The Associate Protection Officer is a member of the Protection team. Under the direct supervision of the Head of Field Unit, the Associate Protection Officer is responsible for the management and oversight of the UNHCR’s Registration and RSD procedures in Nouadhibou as well as related activities in the operation to promote the effectiveness of Registration and RSD as a protection tool and maximize the efficiency and quality of RSD decision-making. The incumbent is in charge of the implementation of the relevant SOPs and workplan.

The Associate Protection Officer also ensure the coordination between the legal partner, authorities and UNHCR during the screenings to identify potential persons of concern to UNHCR.

The Associate Protection Officer acts as RST focal point for the field unit and coordinate with the BO for referrals and other RST processing activities.

The Associate Protection Officer provide a support to the CBP team when needed.

The position

Refugee status determination is conducted in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou covering asylum-seekers throughout the country with the exception of the Hodh Chrgui area that hosts Mbera camp, where enhanced registration leads to prima facie recognition refugee.

UNHCR started to register Malians outside of Mbera camp in 2019 and developed a merged registration-RSD procedure for Malians originating from Northern and Central regions. To implement this merged procedure, two dedicated teams are working in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou.

The incumbent is a member of the Protection Unit and will be the reviewer of the Nouadhibou sub-unit in charge of the Registration and RSD. The incumbent will provide functional guidance to the team conducting merged registration-RSD procedure (2 registration assistants), the registration assistant conducting pre-registration and regular registration and two eligibility officers conducting regular RSD.

To this end, he/she will manage and oversee UNHCR’s registration and RSD procedures for refugees as well as related activities in the operation to promote the effectiveness of RSD as a protection tool and maximize the efficiency and quality of RSD decision-making.

In the context of mixed movements, he/she will also ensure the identification of persons in need of international protection and coordinate with the legal partner to conduct screenings in detention. The incumbent will participate to the drafting of notes and reports on activities related to protection at sea and protection in mixed movements in Nouadhibou.

Duties and responsibilities

  • Stay abreast of legal, political, security and other developments which impact on the protection environment, and in particular, on protection delivery through registration, RSD, and documentation.
  • Contribute to the development and implementation of the operation-specific registration strategy, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and workplan.
  • Oversee registration and RSD activities and monitors trends to promote consistency, identify and respond to issues impacting on the efficiency or quality of RSD decision-making.
  • Provide guidance, train and coach staff involved in registration and RSD procedures (RSD caseworkers, partner’s reception and registration staff, guards, and interpreters) to ensure quality, integrity, consistency and efficiency of decision-making and compliance with applicable standards.
  • Review and endorse RSD decisions providing appropriate feedback and guidance to RSD staff, including in complex and / or sensitive cases.
  • Prevent and identify fraud in RSD through oversight, advice and guidance to UNHCR staff, partners and persons of concern.
  • Compile and analyze registration and RSD statistics related to the field unit and maintain an accurate assessment of the capacity and resource requirements of the FU.
  • Conduct research on country-of-origin information (COI) and legal issues related to RSD and assist in maintaining a local repository of relevant information, guidelines and standards accessible to RSD staff in the operation.
  • Ensure that persons of concern, and partners have accurate information on the RSD procedures, including UNHCR standards, policy and practice.
  • Conduct RSD for particularly complex or sensitive cases in case of need;
  • Coordinate the screenings in detentions and ensure that persons in need of international protection are identified and released.
  • Through relationships with PoC 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.
  • Contribute to the Protection team’s information management component which: provides disaggregated data on PoC and their problems; researches, collects and disseminates relevant protection information and good practices to enhance protection delivery and provide technical advice if necessary.
  • Support PoC to develop structures that enhance their participation in the local activities and protection solutions.
  • In the absence of the head of field unit, supervise CBP caseworkers (in charge of civil documentation, legal protection, CP, GBV, Health, Assistance and Education) and coordinate the case management with the implementing partners.
  • Perform any other task as required.

Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required

The ideal candidate will:

  • Possess a bachelor’s degree in Law, political science, international relations, or another related field.
  • Have 3 years of relevant work experience (with Master degree) or 4 years of relevant work experience (with Bachelor degree).
  • Have excellent communication skills with strong interpersonal and negotiation skills.
  • Be fluent in English and French, with advanced writing and editing skills. Knowledge of Arabic is desirable, but not essential.
  • Demonstrate a genuine desire to learn and develop.
  • Be highly organised and have good attention to detail.
  • Be able to multi-task and to prioritise workload.
  • Be a flexible, team-player.


The successful candidate will be based with the Protection team in Nouadhibou, Mauritania.


The UNOPS ICA contract is for six months and the start date is in November 2022. It is a full-time role based at the duty station in Nouadhibou.

How to apply

For a full job description and to apply, interested candidates are requested to visit

Closing date of applications: 25 September 2022

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).