Only candidates who are not nationals of the country of assignment are eligible to apply to this position
Residential location (if applicable)
Staff Member / Affiliate Type
* Staff members will not normally serve in International Professional positions in the country of their nationality. In addition, in case of a first appointment upon recruitment, the assignment must be outside the staff member’s country of nationality.
In practical terms this means that you are not eligible to apply for International Professional vacancies advertised in the country where you are national of.
Regular > Regular Assignment
Remote work accepted
Target Start Date
Job Posting End Date
November 28, 2023
Standard Job Description
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.
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.
*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
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)
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 must have a sound overall understanding of protection principles and priorities in operational settings focusing on deeper engagement by development actors for local solutions. The candidate should have demonstrated experience in mandate RSD and national asylum system building. Experience in supporting community-based protection actions, LGBTIQ+ protection and GBV response and mitigation through protection programming are necessary areas of experience. Experience in implementing a comprehensive set of solutions, including developing policies in protection areas like child protection for national system inclusion, is important. Experience in the development of legislative and policy reforms for asylum and refugee management is important. Border and detention monitoring experience will be an asset. Demonstrated strong communication skills – oral and written – in English required. Inter-agency and government coordination experience is required. Experience in protection capacity building for national authorities and team members is an important skill area. Experience in developing and running consultative processes at the national level will be viewed as an asset.
Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level):
Occupational Safety and Health Considerations
To view occupational safety and health considerations for this duty station, please visit this link:
Nature of Position
Under the direct supervision of the Senior Protection Officer, the Protection Officer is responsible for quality, timely and effective protection responses and the identification and analysis of protection gaps. S/he facilitates consultative processes and engagement with government counterparts, partners, and persons of concern to develop and implement a comprehensive protection and solutions response. The incumbent’s work includes building and maintaining an effective interface/coordination approach with refugees and asylum seekers and raising awareness among refugees on the rights as well as duties. The incumbent ensures that persons of concern of all age, gender and diversity groups are meaningfully involved in making decisions that affect them, whether in accessing their rights or in identifying and implementing appropriate solutions to their problems.
S/he oversees 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).
The Protection Officer will work closely with a wide range of partners, including the government agency charged with asylum and refugee management but also others, such as the Department of Resettlement and the Ministry of Justice. The incumbent will support the Senior Protection Officer. The expansion of partnerships/networks of stakeholders that can contribute to enhancing the protection and solutions environment for refugees, former refugees and stateless persons will be an important area of work. The Protection Officer will work on the implementation of the new National refugee Policy in August 2023, working closely with teams in Lusaka and the Heads of Field Offices. The incumbent will support UNHCR’s leadership of the Humanitarian Working Group in Zambia and be engaged in specific areas of UNHCR focus under the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, including Education, Gender among them. S/he contributes to the coordination of the design, implementation, and evaluation of protection related programming with implementing and operational partners and facilitate a programme of results-based advocacy through a consultative process with sectors in the operation.
S/he builds 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 and coordinate capacity-building initiatives for communities and individuals to assert their rights. Incumbent also advise and capacitate national authorities, relevant institutions, and civil society to strengthen legislation and status determination procedures and mechanisms.
The incumbent will also support protection teams in two Field Offices and the Lusaka-based Field Officer responsible for one Refugee Settlement. Ensure compliance of staff and implementing partners with global protection policies and standards and the UNHCR Code of Conduct. The prevention of fraud and related risks will also be an area of focus.
Incumbent develops, 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.
Living and Working Conditions
Lusaka is the capital city of Zambia, a country heading towards middle-income country status. Zambia is an English speaking country. Shops are well stocked, and all basic commodities can be found, Lusaka has various supermarkets and malls around town. Imported goods tend to be available but more expensive. Health facilities, international schools, banking services are available in Lusaka. Finding accommodation meeting MORRS standard is possible, either in stand-alone house or in apartment or town house in housing complexes. Domestic flights are costly but available. The local airline, Proflight and Zambia Airways operates flights to larger towns in the country. Zambia is a vast country and road travel can take days, given the distances and at times the road conditions. Zambia is peaceful with minimal security threats. There have been no restrictions on travel within Zambia. There have been no curfews or restricted movements within Lusaka or elsewhere. There have been no reported cases of serious incidents involving UNHCR staff members in the past. No incidents affecting UN staff members have been reported so far in 2020. Like in other duty stations, staff members are advised not to be complacent and be vigilant. International staff members are expected to have security guards from a recognized / recommended security company at their residences.
Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, entry screening may still be conducted at all airports and all travelers entering the airport may be subjected to temperature and symptom screening.
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
Accountability, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Judgement & decision making, Managing performance, Negotiation & conflict resolution, Organizational awareness, Planning & organizing, Political awareness, Teamwork & collaboration
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Add. 1 to Bi-annual Compendium 2023 – Part B
This position doesn’t require a functional clearance