Assistant Protection Officer – NOA at UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Assistant Protection Officer

Operational Context

El Salvador has a population of 6.7 million people, with at least 20% of El Salvador’s population living abroad. It has a small, dollarized economy closely linked to the United States, from which it receives remittances that constitute around 20% of its GDP. 22.8% of its population lives below the poverty line, out of which 4.5% are extremely poor. In 2018, the Government acknowledged the phenomenon of internal forced displacement and published a Profiling Study on Internal Mobility due to violence in El Salvador, which estimated that approximately 1.1% of the population were forced to move internally due to violence. In July 2018, as a result of a constitutional ruling of the Supreme Court, public institutions were ordered to recognize the existence of internal displacement nationwide, and to take appropriate measures to prevent and mitigate its impact at national and local levels. In 2020, the Government signed an IDP law, which UNHCR supported in congress.
There is now the need to design specific policies, further develop the legal framework and to support the Government in implementing them throughout the territory. UNHCR is working closely with the Government on the introduction of legal and policy frameworks to implement the provisions of the 2020 IDP law. UNHCR is also supporting the strengthening of national mechanisms for the protection of forcibly displaced persons with shelter, livelihoods, education, psycho-social support, legal counseling, land and property protection, among others. UNHCR has been working in high risk communities to bring such protection services, as well as supporting with solutions. Since July 2019, El Salvador is part of the Comprehensive Regional Framework for Protection and Solutions (MIRPS) and has committed to take concrete steps to assist, protect and find suitable solutions for forcibly displaced people. UNHCR is currently present in 40 communities and 17 Municipalities nationwide.
The incumbent will be part of the Protection Unit, S/he will be direct supervised by the Protection Officer and will supervise two GS support staff. The incumbent will provide functional protection guidance to information management and programme staff on all protection/legal matters and accountabilities.
Managerial Competencies desirable: Judgement and Decision Making.
Cross-Functional Competencies desirable: Stakeholder Management, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Political Awareness.

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

The Assistant Protection Officer reports to the Protection Officer. Depending on the size and structure of the Office, the incumbent may have supervisory responsibility for protection staff including community-based protection, registration, resettlement and education. S/he provides functional protection guidance to information management and programme staff on all protection/legal matters and accountabilities. These include: statelessness (in line with the campaign to End Statelessness by 2024), Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) commitments, age, gender, diversity (AGD) and accountability to affected populations (AAP) through community-based protection, Child protection, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) prevention and response, gender equality, disability inclusion, youth empowerment, psycho-social support and PSEA, registration, asylum/refugee status determination, resettlement, local integration, voluntary repatriation, human rights standards integration, national legislation, judicial engagement, predictable and decisive engagement in situations of internal displacement and engagement in wider mixed movement and climate change/disaster-related displacement responses. S/he supervises protection standards, operational procedures and practices in protection delivery in line with international standards.

The Assistant Protection Officer is expected to coordinate quality, timely and effective protection responses to the needs of populations of concern (PoC), ensuring that operational responses in all sectors mainstream protection methodologies and integrate protection safeguards. The incumbent contributes to the design of a comprehensive protection strategy and represents the Organization externally on protection doctrine and policy as guided by the supervisor. S/he also ensures that PoC are meaningfully engaged in the decisions that affect them and support programme design and adaptations that are influenced by the concerns, priorities and capacities of them. To achieve this, the incumbent will need to build and maintain effective interfaces with communities of concern, authorities, protection and assistance partners as well as a broader network of stakeholders who can contribute to enhancing protection.

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.


  • Stay abreast of political, social, economic and cultural developments that have an impact on the protection environment.
  • Consistently apply International and National Law and applicable UN/UNHCR and IASC policy, standards and codes of conduct.
  • Assist in providing comments on existing and draft legislation related to PoC.
  • Provide legal advice and guidance on protection issues to PoC; liaise with competent authorities to ensure the issuance of personal and other relevant documentation.
  • Conduct eligibility and status determination for PoC in compliance with UNHCR procedural standards and international protection principles.
  • Promote and contribute to measures to identify, prevent and reduce statelessness.
  • Contribute to a country-level child protection plan as part of the protection strategy.
  • Contribute to a country-level education plan as part of the protection strategy.
  • Provide inputs for the development of protection policies and standards within the AoR.
  • Implement and monitor Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all protection/solutions activities.
  • Manage individual protection cases including those on SGBV and child protection. Monitor, and intervene in cases of refoulment, expulsion and other protection incidents.
  • Recommend durable solutions for the largest possible number of PoC through voluntary repatriation, local integration and where appropriate, resettlement.
  • Assess resettlement needs and apply priorities for the resettlement of individuals and groups of refugees and other PoC.
  • Contribute to the design, implementation and evaluation of protection related AGD based programming with implementing and operational partners.
  • Contribute to and facilitate a programme of results-based advocacy with sectorial and/or cluster partners.
  • Contribute to and facilitate effective information management through the provision of disaggregated data on populations of concern and their problems.
  • Assist capacity-building initiatives for communities and individuals to assert their rights.
  • Participate in initiatives to capacitate authorities, relevant institutions and NGOs to strengthen national protection related legislation and procedures.
  • Intervene with authorities on protection issues.
  • Assist the supervisor in deciding priorities for reception, interviewing and counselling for groups or individuals.
  • Assist the supervisor in enforcing compliance of staff and implementing partners with global protection policies and standards of professional integrity in the delivery of protection services.
  • Enforce compliance with, and integrity of, all protection standard operating procedures.
  • Perform other related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications:
Education & Professional Work Experience
Years of Experience / Degree Level
Minimum 1 year of previous work experience relevant to the functions with Bachelor’s degree, or no experience required with Master or Doctorate degree

Fields of Education:
Law, International Law, Political Sciences or other relevant field.

Relevant Job Experience:
Essential: Knowledge of International Refugee and Human Rights Law and ability to apply the relevant legal principles
Desirable: Completion of the Protection Learning Programme, RSD- Resettlement Learning Programme.

Functional Skills
PR-Protection-related guidelines, standards and indicators LE-International Refugee Law
PR-Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD)
PR-Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Coordination
MG-Projects management
PR-PR-Human Rights Doctrine/Standards
PR-International Humanitarian Law
PR-Protection and mixed-movements
PR-Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Operations & IDPs Status/Rights/Obligation
PR-Climate change and disaster related displacement
PR-Community-based Protection
MS-Drafting, Documentation, Data Presentation
(Functional Skills marked with an asterisk
 are essential)

Language Requirements
Fluency in English and Spanish

All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, including in particular when supervising others, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties by demonstrating no tolerance for sexism, gender inequality, discrimination, abuse of power, harassment including sexual harassment, and sexual exploitation and abuse. As individual workforce members and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and take these issues seriously by speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources, as well as, when required/appropriate, report, for corrective action to be taken, whilst considering a victim-centered-approach.

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.

Candidates interested in applying for this position must be national from El Salvador.
Only shortlisted candidates will be notified and may be required to sit for a test and will undertake a competency-based interview.
The evaluation of applicants will be conducted based on the information submitted during the application. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision, or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.
UNHCR is committed to diversity and job inclusion, therefore, all people are encouraged to apply for this vacancy regardless of religion, age, sex, ethnicity, disability, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.
A competitive compensation and benefits package is offered. For information on UN salaries, allowances and benefits, please visit the portal of the International Civil Service Commission at:

How to apply

Interested candidates who meet the requirements should follow the following link to apply:, click on the blue “Vacancies” button and filter by “Local Vacancies” and “Country” (El Salvador) or search for the vacancy with the Job Opening number: #33583

Only applications sent through the above link will be accepted.

Those interested in applying must be nationals of El Salvador.