Protection Officer (Advocacy)

  • Location:
  • Salary:
    negotiable / YEAR
  • Job type:
  • Posted:
    2 months ago
  • Category:
    Communication and Advocacy, Peace and Security
  • Deadline:


Hardship Level (not applicable for home-based)

A (least hardship)

Family Type (not applicable for home-based)


Staff Member / Affiliate Type


Target Start Date


Job Posting End Date

October 15, 2023

Terms of Reference

(Individual Contractor Agreement)
Title: Protection Officer (advocacy)
Project: DA Reference number
Duty station: Tunis
Section/Unit: UNHCR Office of the Special Envoy – Central and Western Mediterranean Situation
ICA Level: International Specialist – ICA, Level ICA 2
Corresponding level: P3
Duration: From 16 October 2023 through 31 December 2023 (possible extension for 2024)
Supervisor: Jointly by Vincent Cochetel, Special Envoy and Edward O ‘Dwyer, Senior Situation Coordinator

1. General Background
(Brief description of the national, sector-specific or other relevant context in which the individual contractor will operate)

Forced displacement and onward movements within and across sub-Saharan Africa regions and towards North Africa, Italy, Malta, and Spain increased steeply in 2021. This was due to insecurity in the Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin, Ethiopia’s Tigray region, Sudan’s Darfur region, and parts of South Sudan, combined with the pandemic’s impact on livelihoods, and smuggling routes emerging to evade reinforced border controls. Climatic hazards, poor living conditions in countries of first asylum, and limited inclusion in countries along the routes exacerbated these trends, which will persist in 2022.

2021 saw a surge in people making dangerous journeys across the Central Mediterranean from Libya, Tunisia and to a lesser extent Algeria — a 93% increase in the first eight months of the year over the same period of 2020. By the end of August, around 40,000 people had arrived in Italy and Malta and 23,600 had been disembarked in Libya, not a place of safety, as well as over 11,000 in Tunisia. Sea departures in the Western Mediterranean, and through the routes to Spain’s Canary Islands, also increased, with 20,600 arrivals by the end of August. Thousands more were rescued or intercepted and disembarked in Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, and Senegal.
Between January and August 2021, at least 804 people died or went missing en route to the Canary Islands, compared to 480 in 2020. 1,245 died or went missing in the central and western Mediterranean, compared to 1,064 in 2020. UNHCR expects these trends of increased departures, arrivals and disembarkations will continue in 2022. And even greater numbers are estimated to have died on land routes — in the desert and remote border areas, and at the hands of human traffickers. Some 1,750 people may have died along these land routes in 2018-2019, or 72 per month.

Terms of Reference
In 2023-24, UNHCR will strengthen engagement with States, inter-agency partners, and humanitarian and development stakeholders to save lives and mitigate the risks of dangerous journeys. Through its leadership and coordination role for protection in irregular Mixed Movements, The Office of the Special Envoy (OSE) will work with partners to bolster identification and protection responses and services, including for victims of trafficking. It will also advocate for increased rescue-at-sea capacity involving States, commercial shipowners, and private/NGO boats, and for a regional arrangement for disembarking and processing rescued people in places of safety.
OSE will collaborate with IOM and other partners on information, reporting and advocacy tools, to forge greater momentum on adapted protection and solutions for refugees and migrants within the framework of the Valletta Plan of Action – the Khartoum and Rabat Processes – and the EU-AU continent-to-continent partnership. It will support national asylum to assist forcibly displaced people travelling in mixed movements and to prevent human trafficking. In North Africa, UNHCR will continue its engagement with the League of Arab States to carry forward the “Final Recommendations on International Protection in Mixed Movements in the Central Mediterranean”. OSE will support outreach, communication with communities, and public awareness campaigns on the risks associated with irregular movements in dangerous journeys, and advocate for inclusive and shock-responsive social protection systems, building on the positive examples of several African states that have included people of concern in national systems and development plans during the pandemic.
UNHCR / OSE will also promote the enhanced use of the Emergency Transit Mechanisms (ETMs) in Rwanda and Niger for asylum-seekers and refugees evacuated from Libya, as well as use of humanitarian corridors to Italy and elsewhere. It will work to increase access to resettlement and complementary legal pathways, including family reunification, and prioritize the protection of children and youth against the risks associated with irregular movement in dangerous journeys More broadly, OSE will continue to offer its good offices in coordination with Regional Bureaus to advise / support States and IOM to facilitate safe, dignified and legal return programmes for those not in need of international protection or without other grounds for legal stay in receiving countries.

2. Purpose and Scope of Assignment
(Concise and detailed description of activities, tasks and responsibilities to be undertaken, including expected travel, if applicable)

The incumbent will enable UNHCR to track developments in many of the areas above, particularly, regarding sea crossings from North and West Africa to Europe, and rescue at sea, changing routes and risks associated with them, and emerging protection incidents at borders. He/she will also support the implementation of recommendations from the 2019 Evaluation of effectiveness and relevance of advocacy approaches with the EU and in EU/EFTA countries, including by testing UNHCR’s advocacy toolkit in targeted countries, including those affected by mixed movements.

The work of the Protection Officer will be done in support of the Special Envoy for the Central and Western Mediterranean Situation. The incumbent will:

a. provide research and advocacy support as required, including with the production of internal and external materials on protection and solutions in irregular mixed movements, along the Central and Western Mediterranean routes. This will include:

• protection and rescue at sea, as well as approaches to solidarity and responsibility sharing;

• abuses occurring along the routes on both land and sea. (including detention, expulsions, Trafficking and Aggravated Smuggling).

• build on / help expand work done in 2020 to map the availability of protection services in West Africa and the East and Horn of Africa for survivors of abuses, including Victims of Trafficking.

b. Support the further evolution and roll-out of the PACTAS initiative for the protection of Victim of Trafficking in countries across the Situation in collaboration with IOM, UNODC and other competent organizations, and advocate for greater accountability for perpetrators.

c. Contribute to OSE efforts to enhance Communication with Communities (CwC) and Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) in operations along all routes of the Central and Western Mediterranean Situation.

d. Prepare and draft OSE contributions to internal UNHCR as well as UN/SG and other external reports and documents.

3. Monitoring and Progress Controls
(Clear description of measurable outputs, milestones, key performance indicators and/or reporting requirements which will enable performance monitoring)

Based on a clear Workplan – integrated to the OSE Planning Matrix — the incumbent will generate regular content / reports and undertake or guide specific projects / initiatives including regular analysis of mixed movement trends and related protection concerns. He/She will provide dedicated support in developing advocacy strategies around irregular mixed movements in selected countries / regions.

4. Qualifications and Experience
(List the required education, work experience, expertise and competencies of the individual contractor. The listed education and experience should correspond with the level at which the contract is offered.)

a. Education (Level and area of required and/or preferred education)
• Master’s degree in social sciences, Refugee Law or International Relations preferred.

b. Language requirements
• English essential. Proficiency in French and/or Arabic an asset.

c. Work Experience
At least ten years of working on refugee and human rights issues, including in an advocacy and policy environment, required. Experience of documenting human rights abuses at borders and working with particularly vulnerable groups preferred.

Standard Job Description

Protection Officer

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships
In the Bureaux, the Protection Officer works under the direct supervision of the Senior Protection Coordinator or Senior Protection Officer. In the Field, the incumbent normally reports to the Representative, Deputy or Assistant Representative (Protection), Head of Sub Office or Senior Protection Officer as appropriate. The incumbent may have direct supervisory responsibility for protection staff whose work may include RSD, community-based protection, registration, resettlement, complementary pathways, internal displacement and education, among other areas. In HQ, the incumbent may report to a Senior Protection Officer, Chief of Section or Deputy Director and may supervise other protection staff.

The incumbent acts as an advisor to senior management in, when not responsible for, designing 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 Protection Officer coordinates quality, timely and effective protection responses to the needs of populations of concern under the AoR. S/he ensures 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 and report as relevant on legal political, social, economic and cultural developments that have an impact on the protection environment.
– Engage relevant national authorities and structures in identifying and expanding opportunities in view of developing or strengthening national asylum/RSD systems.
– Facilitate 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, seek to ensure the response of the Protection Cluster is grounded in a strategy which covers all assessed and prioritized protection needs of the affected populations.
– Support senior management to ensure the protection strategy is fully integrated into the Country Operations Plan, the UN Development and Assistance Framework (UNDAF), the Humanitarian Country Team’s common humanitarian response plan where applicable, 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 I 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.
– Support the operation to develop and implement robust prevention, identification, and responses to fraud within protection processes and procedures, including registration, RSD, resettlement and complementary pathways, ensuring the integrity of interventions across all protection activities.
– Assist UNHCR management at country level to comply with polices and commitment on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse measures.
– Oversee and manage 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 and undertake eligibility and status determination within the AoR ensuring compliance with UNHCR procedural standards and international protection principles.
– Promote and implement effective strategies and measures to identify, prevent and reduce statelessness within the AoR.
– Contribute to the development and implementation of an education plan as part of protection strategy within the AoR as relevant.
– Contribute to the development and implementation of 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 concern 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 and/or overseeing resettlement and complementary pathways activities.
– Contribute to the coordination of the design, implementation and evaluation of protection related programming with implementing and operational partners.
– Contribute to and facilitate 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; researches, collects and disseminates relevant protection information and good practices to enhance protection delivery.
– Build the protection capacity of national and local government, partners and civil society to assume their responsibilities vis-à-vis all persons of concern through protection training, mainstreaming and related activities.
– Coordinate capacity-building 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.

– Support the identification and management of risks and seek to seize opportunities impacting objectives in the area of responsibility. Ensure decision making in risk based in the functional area of work. Raise risks, issues and concerns to a supervisor or to relevant functional colleague(s).
– 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 within 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 regional and country level to comply with polices 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) support coordination and review of UNHCR’s country reports to the UN human rights mechanisms.
– Engage in relevant international and regional fora and contribute to forging 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.

Minimum Qualifications

Years of Experience / Degree Level
For P3/NOC – 6 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 5 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 4 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 Studies; Political Sciences
or other relevant field.

Certificates and/or Licenses
Protection Learning Programme
RSD- Resettlement Learning Programme
(Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Relevant Job Experience
Minimum 4 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. Good knowledge of International Refugee and Human Rights Law and ability to apply the relevant legal principles. Excellent legal research, analytical skills and drafting.

Diverse field experience. Good IT skills including database management skills.

Functional Skills
*PR-Protection-related guidelines, standards and indicators
*PR-Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD)
PR-Human Rights Doctrine/Standards
PR-International Humanitarian Law
PR-Comprehensive Solutions Framework
LE-Judicial Engagement
PR-Assessment of IDPs Status, Rights, Obligation
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)

Language Requirements
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.

Required Languages



Desired Languages



Additional Qualifications


LE-Judicial Engagement, PR-Accountability to Affected People – Principles and Framework, PR-Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD), PR-Assessment of IDPs Status, Rights, Obligation, PR-Climate change and disaster related displacement, PR-Comprehensive Solutions Framework, PR-Gender Based Violence (GBV) Coordination, PR-Human Rights Doctrine/Standards, PR-International Humanitarian Law, PR-Protection-related guidelines, standards and indicators


Bachelor of Arts (BA): International Humanitarian Law, Bachelor of Arts (BA): International Human Rights Law, Bachelor of Arts (BA): International Law, Bachelor of Arts (BA): International Refugee Law, Bachelor of Arts (BA): Law, Bachelor of Arts (BA): Political Science, Bachelor of Arts (BA): Refugee and Forced Migration Studies


HCR Protection Learning Program – UNHCR, HCR Resettlement Learning Program – UNHCR

Work Experience

Other information

UN OPS contract – based in Tunis on a fulltime basis.The English version is considered original and authoritative, translation to other language(s) serve the purpose of advertisement of local positions where applicable but are not considered as official translationsNAThis position doesn’t require a functional clearance

This job has expired.