Organizational Setting and Work Relationships
In the Bureaux, the Senior Protection Officer works under the direct supervision of the Bureau Deputy Director or Head of Bureau Protection Service or Senior Protection Coordinator. In the Field, the incumbent normally reports to the Representative, Deputy or Assistant Representative (Protection) or Head of Sub Office as appropriate. The incumbent has direct supervisory responsibility for protection staff whose work may include RSD, community-based protection, registration, resettlement, internal displacement, complementary pathways, and education, among other areas. In HQ, the incumbent may report to a Chief of Section or Deputy Director and may lead a Unit and/or supervise other protection staff.
The incumbent acts as a key advisor to senior management and leads the development of 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 Senior Protection Officer plans, leads and coordinates quality, timely and effective protection responses to the needs of populations of concern under the AoR. This includes ensuring that operational responses in all sectors are shaped in a protection optic, are consistent with and promote respect for relevant international law and UNHCR’s doctrine, mainstream protection methodologies and integrate protection safeguards. Another important element of the incumbent¿s functions is to ensure 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 legal, political, social, economic and cultural developments that have an impact on the protection environment.
– Manage 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 Gender Based Violence (GBV) priorities with regard to these persons.
– In operations applying the Cluster Approach, ensure the response of the Protection Cluster is grounded in a strategy which covers all assessed and prioritized protection needs of the affected populations.
– Ensure that the protection strategy is fully integrated into the Country Operations Plan, the UN Development and Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the Humanitarian Country Team¿s common humanitarian response plan 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 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.
– Guide the operation in the development and implementation of robust prevention, identification, and responses to fraud within protection processes and procedures, including registration, RSD, and resettlement, ensuring the integrity of interventions across all protection activities.
– Oversee the management of individual protection cases including those on GBV 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 eligibility and status determination in the Operation(s) under the AoR, ensuring compliance with UNHCR procedural standards and international protection principles.
– Promote and implement strategies and measures to identify, prevent and reduce statelessness.
– Develop and implement an education plan as part of the protection strategy within the AoR as relevant.
– Develop and implement 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 concerns 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, supporting, and/or overseeing resettlement and complementary pathways activities, including implementation of the GCR Three Year Strategy.
– Coordinate the design, implementation and evaluation of protection related programming with implementing and operational partners.
– Develop and implement 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.
– Research, collect and disseminate relevant protection information and good practices to enhance protection delivery.
– Develop the protection capacity of national and local authorities, partners and civil society to assume their responsibilities vis-à-vis all persons of concern through protection training, mainstreaming and related activities.
– Coordinate capacity-development 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.
– Perform other related duties as required.
For positions in Bureaux
– Support the Regional Bureau and Country Operations to reflect the protection and solution angle in support of persons of concern with 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 country level to comply with policies 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) coordinate and review UNHCR¿s country reports to the UN human rights mechanisms.
– Engage in relevant international and regional fora and forge 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.
Years of Experience / Degree Level
For P4/NOD – 9 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 8 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 7 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, Political Sciences
or other relevant field.
(Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)
Certificates and/or Licenses
Protection Learning Programme RSD-Resettlement Learning Programme
Management Learning Programme
(Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential)
Relevant Job Experience
Minimum 7 years of relevant professional experience in the area of refugee protection, internal displacement, human rights or international humanitarian law, including experience in working directly with Field Offices. Very good knowledge of International Refugee and Human Rights Law and ability to apply the relevant legal principles, and of UNHCR¿s protection strategies and policies. Excellent legal research, analytical skills and drafting.
Diverse field experience. Good IT skills including database management skills.
*PR-Protection-related guidelines, standards and indicators
*PR-Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD)
PR-Refugee Coordination Model
PR-Human Rights Doctrine/Standards
PR-International Humanitarian Law
PR-Assessment of IDPs Status, Rights, Obligation
PR-Comprehensive Solutions Framework
PR-Climate change and disaster related displacement
PR-Accountability to Affected People – Principles and Framework
PR-Gender Based Violence (GBV) Coordination
(Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential)
For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.
For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language.
For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English.
All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination and abuse of power.
As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise.
This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR jobs with this job title and grade level. The Operational Context may contain additional essential and/or desirable qualifications relating to the specific operation and/or position. Any such requirements are incorporated by reference in this Job Description and will be considered for the screening, shortlisting and selection of candidates.
Desired Candidate Profile
The candidate should be conversed on EU context, with good understanding of interpretation of EU laws and regulations, working with CoE (Council of Europe), knowledge of Interview Techniques. The candidate should be good in conflict resolution especially when working with partners, among her/his team and authorities, thinking/implementing innovative solutions. She/He should be system thinking person, has an knowledge or experience on integration/inclusion activities especially within EU.
Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level):
Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:
Nature of Position:
The incumbent will be based in Sofia and will report to the Representative, and leads the Protection Unit.
Under the overall supervision of the Representative, the Senior Protection Officer will head the Protection Unit and supervise the protection team of International and national staff members, handling protection interventions in the following thematic areas: persons with specific needs, child protection, GBV, detention and border, case management and referrals, cash for protection, integration, communication with communities, Inter-Agency, Information Management, socio-economic inclusion.
Living and Working Conditions:
Bulgaria is an upper-middle-income country with an open/market-based economy. It’s long-term structural challenges include negative demographic trends as well as institutional and governance weaknesses. High rates of inequality of opportunity limit access to key public services, constrains the ability of individuals to escape poverty and so leads to high/persistent income inequality.
Sofia offers good living conditions, is pleasant with many parks. The country is beautiful (mountains, seaside and spas). Housing is easily found through estate agencies. International schools are available and health care is relatively good if it is in private hospitals. Many Bulgarians leave the
country so the level of professionalism in many occupations is lower than in other EU countries. Bulgaria is generally very safe. The main hazard is Bulgaria has the highest number of traffic fatalities in the EU.
Bulgaria is not only the poorest EU country but is also fraught with political instability as no single party has been able to obtain a majority to form a
government. Over 950,000 Ukrainians, the majority of whom (90%) are women and children, have entered Bulgaria since 24th February 2022. Between 3,000 to 6,000 refugees arrive daily in Bulgaria and require various forms of protection and assistance, especially those who are particularly vulnerable or have specific needs. In addition, an increased number of persons are also entering Bulgaria from its southern border with Turkiye and Greece.
The number of refugees expected to enter and remain in Bulgaria by the end of 2022 and into 2023 has been estimated at some 200,000. Should the security situation in Ukraine further deteriorate, this number may be even higher. UNHCR is responsible for leading/coordinating the interagency response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis as well as providing support and guidance to the Government of Bulgaria. There are no centralized official statistics on the number of stateless persons residing in Bulgaria and there are some significant gaps in the associated policy/legal framework as well as its implementation. Bulgaria is a party to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol (1992) and ratified the 1954 and 1961 Stateless Conventions (2012). The State Agency for Refugees is responsible for implementing asylum. UNHCR has positioned itself as a trusted interlocutor, enabling it to positively
influence legislation/policy, in order to ensure alignment with international and EU standards.
CB-Cash-based Programming/Managing/Planning, PR-Advanced interviewing strategies for complex and non-standard asylum related interviews, PR-Child-friendly feedback and complaints mechanisms, PR-Engagement with human rights systems, PR-Legal, economic, social and protection support to integration, PR-Local integration, PR-Protection monitoring and information management, PR-Social cohesion, TR-Capacity Buidling
BA: International Law (Required), BA: Law (Required), BA: Political Science (Required)
HCR Management Learning Program – UNHCR, HCR Protection Learning Program – UNHCR, HCR Resettlement Learning Program – UNHCR
Number of Persons of Concern Served, Workforce to Supervise, Working with Persons of Concern: Asylum Seekers, Working with Persons of Concern: Others of Concern, Working with Persons of Concern: Refugees, Working with Persons of Concern: Stateless
Accountability, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Judgement & decision making, Leadership, Managing performance, Negotiation & conflict resolution, Organizational awareness, Planning & organizing, Political awareness, Strategic planning & visions, Teamwork & collaboration
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Add.2 to Bi-annual Compendium 2022 – Part B
This position doesn’t require a functional clearance
How to apply
For a full job description and to apply, interested candidates are requested to visit https://bit.ly/3YsNQS4
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).
Closing date of receipt of applications: 16 February 2023 (midnight Geneva time)