Menu Close

Associate Protection Officer at United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was created in 1950, during the aftermath of the Second World War, to help millions of Europeans who had fled or lost their homes. We had three years to complete our work and then disband. Today, over 65 years later, our organization is still hard at work, protecting and assisting refugees around the world.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:


Job Title: Associate Protection Officer

Job ID: 37764
Location: Abuja, Nigeria
Hardship Level: C
Family Location Type: Family
Duration of Assignment: Initially one year with the possibility to extend up to a maximum of 3 years
Grade: P2 step 1 in the first year, or P1 step 1, depending on the level of education and relevant working experience
Security: Moderate (3)


  • UNHCR has a country office in Abuja (Branch Office), two Sub-Offices in Ogoja and Maiduguri, 3 Field Offices in Adikpo, Calabar, and Takum; 11 Field Units in Makurdi, Gembu, Lagos, Yola, Gwoza, Bama, Banki, Ngala, Monguno, Benin city, and Sokoto.
  • Nigeria continues to face a complex humanitarian situation as conflict and insecurity have left more than 2 million people internally displaced from Borno, Admawa and Yobe States (BAY States). More than 330, 000 Nigerians have become refugees in the neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Some have returned back to Nigeria either sponteanously or by facilitated voluntary repatriation, though majority of them are experiencing multiple internal displacements due to insecurity even after returning as refugee returnees. There is also a caseload of 77,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria, with 40% of them being in refugee settlements while the remaining 60% settling with host communities in Cross River, Benue, Taraba, and Akwa Ibom States.
  • UNHCR partners and coordinates with the Government of Nigeria to provide a solution driven protection services for refugees, returnees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). UNHCR is also pursuing a humanitarian intervention agenda that addresses the critical protection and assistance needs of urban refugees, IDPs and refugee returnees.
  • The intervention framework collaborates with other humanitarian agencies to support the government in finding solutions for those affected by the insurgency, with particular emphasis on five core directions ¿ protection, response, inclusion, empowerment and solution. Objectives of UNHCR in dealing with the refugee crisis include providing access to asylum, registration and documentation; relocation of refugees to reasonable distance away from the border;  access to healthcare services, water and sanitation facilities; identification and support to persons with specific needs through community-based approach; protection of vulnerable individuals and groups against sexual and gender-based violence, abuse and exploitation; child protection, including identification and foster care or unaccompanied and separated children; empowering the refugees through self-reliance activities and sustainable livelihood opportunities; prevention of statelessness; and strengthen partnerships with relevant stakeholders.
  • UNHCR works closely with the Government of Nigeria and partners to coordinate, maintain and run the IDP and refugee operations in the country. Fostering links with local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) grassroots is an objective of UNHCR in its efforts to capacitate the first responders. UNHCR has partnership agreements with the Nigeria National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) and a number of national and international NGOs in Cross River and Benue states in the areas of protection, health, WASH, Camp Management (shelter and infrastructure) and Livelihoods. Moreover, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) acts also as UNHCR¿s governmental counterpart. UNHCR also works with relevant government ministries for effective protection of refugees. A monthly inter-agency coordination meeting on the Cameroonian Refugee Response is co-chaired by UNHCR and the Government.
  • The Refugee Protection Working Group is also in place and other coordination meetings are held at both Sub and Field Offices levels.  At community level, coordination platforms are established through open forums with refugee leaderships and the wider refugee community on a monthly basis for information sharing between refugee and humanitarian actors. Community based protection structures are being strengthened to identify and implement protection responses at the community level and promote ownership by refugee themselves.


  • The Associate Protection Officer reports to the Snr Protection Officer.
  • Depending on the size and structure of the Office, the incumbent may have supervisory responsibility for protection staff including protection staff covering mixed movement, community-based protection, registration, 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 and the Banjul Plan of Action),  Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) commitments, age, gender, diversity (AGD) in line with Nigeria’s Roadmap for implementation of its pledges 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 Protection against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA)/linkage the National PSEA network under the Resident Coordinations Office (RCO), registration, asylum/refugee status determination, durable solutions, 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.
  • 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 persons of concern 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 persons of concern.
  • S/he ensures compliance with protection standards, operational procedures and practices in protection delivery in line with international standards.
  • The Associate Protection Officer is expected to contribute to the coordination of quality, timely and effective protection responses to the needs of populations of concern, ensuring that operational responses in all sectors mainstream protection methodologies and integrate protection safeguards.
  • 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.


  • Effective and timely support is provided to the formulation of a clear and coherent protection and solutions-oriented strategy, which incorporates a thorough age, gender and diversity analysis and reflects the Organization¿s global, regional and country level priorities.
  • AGD sensitive analysis of community risks and capacities provides the essential basis for all of UNHCR¿s work.
  • The participation of persons of concern is assured through continuous assessment and evaluation using participatory, rights and community-based approaches, which inform protection and assistance programming and ensure that UNHCR meets its commitments to accountability to persons of concern.
  • National protection capacities are improved through direct engagement, research and advocacy with all relevant external interlocutors.
  • Protection incidents and needs are immediately identified and addressed through direct intervention, advocacy and public exposure.

Summary of Duties:

  • Stay abreast of political, social, economic and cultural developments that have an impact on the protection environment.
  • Contribute to a country-level child protection plan as part of the protection strategy to ensure programmes use a child protection systems approach.
  • Contribute to a country-level education plan.
  • Implement and oversee Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all protection/solutions activities which integrate AGD sensitive procedures.
  • Oversee and manage individual protection cases, including those on SGBV and child protection. Monitor, and intervene in cases of refoulement, expulsion and other protection incidents through working relations with governments and other partners.
  • Promote International and National Law and applicable UN/UNHCR and IASC policy, standards and codes of conduct.
  • Foster their consistent and coherent interpretation and application through mainstreaming in all sectors and /or in clusters in applicable operations.
  • Assist in providing comments on existing and draft legislation related to persons of concern.  
  • Provide legal advice and guidance on protection issues to persons of concern; liaise with competent authorities to ensure the issuance of personal and other relevant documentation.
  • Promote and contribute to measures to identify, prevent and reduce statelessness.
  • Recommend durable solutions for the largest possible number of persons of concern through voluntary repatriation, local integration and where appropriate, resettlement.
  • Support operations’s strategy in use of resettlement as a protection tool and support the identification of persons meeting the resettlement needs and apply priorities for the resettlement of individuals and groups of refugees and other persons of concern.
  • Participate in the organisation and implementation of participatory assessments and methodologies throughout the operations management cycle and promote AGD sensitive programming with implementing and operational partners.
  • Contribute proactively to the multi-functional teams to facilitate an accountable protection delivery keen on demonstrating results and provide input into evidenced based  advocacy through a consultative process with sectorial and/or cluster partners.
  • Contribute to effective information management, closely working with the information management and external relations teams in collation of disaggregated data on populations of concern and core protection issues.
  • Promote and integrate community-based approaches to protection and contribute to capacity-building initiatives for communities and individuals to assert their rights.
  • Support activities in the area of risk management related to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, fraud, case-processing, data protection, and human rights due diligence at country level.
  • Participate in initiatives to capacitate national authorities, relevant institutions and NGOs to strengthen national protection related legislation and procedures.
  • Intervene with authorities on protection issues and negotiate locally on behalf of UNHCR.
  • consult in the determination of priorities for reception, interviewing and counselling for groups or individuals.
  • Enforce 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.


  • Contribute to the design of the community-based protection strategy, project submissions and budgets for endorsement by the Senior Protection Officer or the Head of Office.
  • Chair protection meetings with partners as needed.
  • Intervene with authorities on community-based protection issues.
  • Negotiate with local counterparts, partners and populations of concern.

Required Qualifications and Experience

  • Master’s Degree or equivalent in Law, International Law, Political Sciences or other relevant field.
  • A First-level University Degree (Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent) in combination with qualifying experience (at least 3 years of relevant working experience) may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University degree
  • Part of the candidates’ academic training must have taken place in a developing country that appears on the following list of eligible countries of the Dutch JPO Programme:

Working Experience:

  • Minimal 2 years  to maximal 4 years relevant working experience
  • Essential: experience in the area of refugee protection, internal displacement, human rights or international humanitarian law. Good knowledge of International Refugee and Human Rights Law and ability to apply the relevant legal principles.
  • Desirable: Diverse field operational experience.
  • Working experience within the UN system should not exceed 50% of the relevant working experience including UNV, (paid) UN internship and UN consultancy.
  • All paid work experience since obtaining Bachelor’s degree will be considered.
  • Full-time internship or relevant voluntary (non-paid) work is counted at 50%. Part-time internship or relevant voluntary (non-paid) work is counted at 25%.

Position Competencies
Key Competencies:

  • Judgement and decision making
  • Analytical thinking
  • Planning and Organizing
  • Political awareness
  • Change capability and adaptability


  • Ability to establish and maintain good working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds
  • Understanding of and demonstrated competencies in forced displacement and UNHCR protection issues, particularly child protection, education, SGBV prevention and response, gender equality, and the application of the Age, Gender and Diversity Policy.

Language Requirements:

  • Essential: English
  • Desirable: Working knowledge of any other UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish)


  • Title of supervisor: Senior Protection Officer, P4

Content and Methodology of Supervision:

  • The JPO will be under the direct supervision of the manager indicated under `Supervisor title and position number.
  • The supervisor will be responsible for the performance evaluation of the JPO.
  • The manager will also ensure that the JPO is provided a thorough induction and orientation briefing, followed by on-the-job training as well as continuous guidance for training/learning opportunities throughout the assignment.
  • In support to the manager, the JPO Unit provides the Supervisory Guidelines upon recruitment/reassignment of the JPO.

Training Components:
Training Component (Learning elements and expectations):
Upon completion of the assignment the JPO will have / will be able to:

  • The JPO will gain an intimate knowledge and understanding of UNHCR’s protection mandate and related legal principles, policies and guidelines, in particular with regards to child protection.
  • He/she will furthermore learn how to interact directly, on a daily basis with refugees and other persons of concern, as well as with partners and Government officials. Report writing, ad-hoc on specific cases and issues, or as part of periodic regular reporting requirements, will be an important part of the job as well.
  • The JPO will furthermore get first-hand experience with UNHCR’s implementation of durable solutions, in particular repatriation and local integration, but also some resettlement activities. He/he will get the opportunity to better understand the Global Compact of Refugees and the specific experience of Nigeria in making pledges at the Global Refugee Forum in 2019, how this translates in reality/the challenges and the development of a roadmap for implementation of those pledges.
  • The incumbent will also get the opportunity to explore further the practical challenges by governments and stakeholders in addressing internal displacements and the Lake Chad Basin crisis and its immediate impact on the IDP situation in Nigerian and regional context of the IDP situation

The JPO training programme includes the following learning elements:

  • Protection Induction Program
  • Best Interest of  the Child-Basic Principles and Procedures
  • Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
  • Age, Gender and Diversity Approach
  • PSEA – To Serve with Pride: Zero Tolerance for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Our Own Staff


  • The JPO position includes a Duty travel and training allowance (DTTA) of $ 4.000 per year which may be used for learning activities related to the assignment and career development.



How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply


Application Deadline  17th July, 2022 (midnight Geneva time).