Protection Assistant, Venezuela At UNHCR

Closing date: Sunday, 23 April 2023


Description of assignment title: Protection Assistant

Assignment country: Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

Expected start date: 05/01/2023

Sustainable Development Goal: 16. Peace, justice and strong institutions

Volunteer category: National UN Volunteer Specialist

DoA reserved for persons with disabilities: No

Host entity: UNHCR

Type: Onsite

Duration: 12 months

Number of assignments: 1

Duty stations: Santa Elena de Uairen


Mission and objectives

UNHCR was established on 14 December 1950 by the UN General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safe-guard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country ( The UNHCR Representation in Venezuela has Country Office in Caracas, Field Unit in Caracas and four Field Offices of which three are located on the border with Colombia (Guasdualito, San Cristóbal and Maracaibo) and one in Ciudad Guyana (Bolivar state), which covers the border with Brazil, Guyana, and the Caribbean.


Venezuela is facing a critical political, social, and economic crisis resulting in hyperinflation, shortages of food, medicine and basic supplies, and deterioration of health, education and basic infrastructure such as water, electricity, transport and urban services that has severely affected most of the country´s population of nearly 30 million persons. Drastic reduction in production capacities in the agricultural, pharmaceutical and other sectors have further aggravated the supply situation. In addition, the protection risks of the population are growing. The country faces high levels of insecurity with an increase in homicides and extortion. In Venezuela, UNHCR works with refugee and asylum-seeking women, girls, boys and men. Following the establishment of the Humanitarian Response Plan in mid-2019, UNHCR has also included Venezuelan affected populations. This second population group include persons in a mobility situation, spontaneous returnees, and their hosting communities. The “persons in a mobility situation” category includes those on the move in search of better economic opportunities/access to rights and services, those who engage in pendular movements, those are at risk of displacement, and those who have been forced to leave their homes -either temporarily or permanently, due to natural disasters or armed clashes. In 2022 UNHCR Field Office Ciudad Guayana expanded its presence in Santa Elena de Uairen (SEU) of the Gran Sabana Municipality, as a result of the different missions that have been carried out, which refer to the increase in protection risks, forced mobility, social control, sexual slavery, or sex for survival, child labor, and forced recruitment by the syndicates that operate in the mining areas. In this sense, UNHCR jointly with partners and UN Agencies coordinate activities to support the local authorities in responding to the protection and solutions needs to the most vulnerable groups. Currently, UNHCR and IOM are co-sharing premises in Santa Elena de Uairen. UNHCR in SEU has various operational objectives, in line with its mandate. Jointly with OIM and other NGOs, UNHCR support with community-based protection activities in more than 30 indigenous communities affected by human mobility (mainly persons going to illegal mining) with basic services to mitigate the risks associated with the mobility. In addition, UNHCR support local authorities to enhance protection activities, specifically the Ombudsman Office and the Civil Registry, to ensure the right of identity of those at risk of statelessness. UNHCR also works with partner organizations for various activities in non-indigenous communities with persons of concern, including refugees and returnees, and ensures follow up activities related to shelter for protection, such as spaces established for persons in mobility (waystations), health centres, among others, managed or co-managed with local authorities. UNHCR also contributes to the interagency cooperation framework with other UN agencies and NGOs present in SEU as well as providing support to authorities in charge of natural disasters including the Civil Protection and the Fire Brigade. The office in SEU, currently with four staff, reports to UNHCR in Ciudad Guayana.

Task description

Under the direct supervision of the Field Associate in Santa Elena de Uairen, the UN Volunteer will undertake the following tasks:

  •  The protection of populations of concern is met through the application of International and National Law relevant UN/UNHCR protection standards and IASC principles.
  •  Protection activities are guided by the UNHCR country protection strategy.
  •  The participation of persons of concern is facilitated through supporting participatory, rights and community-based approaches.
  •  Support is provided to identify and report protection incidents.
  •  Consistently apply International and National Law and applicable UN/UNHCR and IASC policy, standards and codes of conduct.
  •  Provide counselling on protection issues to persons of concern; liaise with competent authorities to ensure the issuance of personal and other relevant documentation.
  •  Support activities in protection related AGD based programming with implementing and operational partners.
  •  Conduct preliminary information gathering and interviews in support of eligibility, status determination, durable solutions and social needs assessment.
  •  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 for persons of concern as part of the protection strategy.
  •  Monitor Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all protection/solutions activities.
  •  Participate in individual protection case management including cases of SGBV and child protection only for Persons of Concern to UNHCR (refugees, asylum seekers and persons in need of international protection). Monitor and report on cases of refoulement, expulsion and other protection incidents.
  •  Assist in identifying durable solutions for persons of concern in voluntary repatriation, local integration and where appropriate, resettlement.
  •  Contribute to the design, implementation, and evaluation of protection related AGD based programming with implementing and operational partners.
  •  Assist in drafting reports, routine correspondence, updating relevant databases and compiling statistics for the protection unit / section.
  •  Contribute to initiatives to enhance national and local protection capacities.

Eligibility criteria

Age: 27 – 80


Candidate must be a national or legal resident of the country of assignment.


Required experience

3 years of experience in relevant professional work experience at the national and/or international level, or other relevant programmes; experience with NGOs is an asset, as is experience working in the UN or other international development organization.

  •  Knowledge of UN policies and procedures.
  •  Good analytical skills.
  •  Strong interpersonal and communication skills in a multi-cultural setting.
  •  Ability to live and work in the difficult and harsh conditions of developing countries is essential.
  •  Excellent oral and written skills; excellent drafting, formulation, reporting skills.
  •  Working knowledge of the local indigenous language is desirable.
  •  Accuracy and professionalism in document production and editing.
  •  Excellent interpersonal skills; culturally and socially sensitive; ability to work inclusively and collaboratively with a range of partners, including grassroots community members, religious and youth organizations, and authorities at different levels; familiarity with tools and approaches of communications for development; ability to manage multiple tasks and priorities simultaneously.
  •  Ability to work and adapt professionally and effectively in a challenging environment; ability to work effectively in a multicultural team of international and national personnel.
  •  Solid overall computer literacy, including proficiency in various MS Office applications (Excel, Word, etc.) and email/internet; familiarity with database management; and office technology equipment.
  •  Self-motivated, ability to work with minimum supervision; ability to work with tight deadlines.
  •  Sound security awareness.
  •  Have affinity with or interest in volunteerism as a mechanism for durable development, and the UN System.
  •  Computer skills: Office Package (excellent knowledge of Word, good knowledge of Excel and Power Point) and Internet browsing.
  •  Experience of working with indigenous communities and an understanding of indigenous history, culture and cosmovision is highly recommended.

Area(s) of expertise

Crisis and emergency response, Legal affairs, Community development

Driving license


English, Level: Working knowledge, Desirable Spanish, Level: Fluent, Required

Required education level

Bachelor degree or equivalent in a relevant area:

  •  International Refugee Law
  •  International humanitarian law
  •  National Law and International Law

Competencies and values

  •  Accountability
  •  Integrity and professionalism
  •  Commitment to continuous learning
  •  Planning and organising
  •  Teamwork and respect for diversity
  •  Communication
  •  Flexibility, adaptability, and ability and willingness to operate independently
  •  Genuine commitment towards the principles of voluntary engagement

Other information

Living conditions and remarks

Duty station is Santa Elena de Uairen. Santa Elena is a small town 20Km away from the border with Brazil. Despite the borders are open between the countries, Santa Elena have limited access to basic services, including potable water. The town is severely affected by power cuts and internet limitations. The economy is based on Brazilian Reales and the cost of living is relatively high for accommodation and food. No gasoline is available, so is usually found on the black market or in Brazil. Santa Elena is 600Km distant from Puerto Ordaz, where the current UNHCR office for the East of Venezuela is. However, the road conditions are in a very poor state, making the journey by car between 12 and 14 hours long. There is one public hospital in Santa Elena and some private clinics. However, they are not fully equipped for emergencies or there is no ambulance, so local residents often go to Brazil for treatment and medical follow up. BENEFITS: The primary benefit of serving as a UN Volunteer is the personal satisfaction of the volunteer assignment, as it involves making a positive impact for peace and development. However, the UNV program offers support during your assignment in several ways. The UNV program offers: – A VLA (Volunteer Living Allowance) of USD $1,299.58 to be provided monthly to cover the costs of accommodation, housing, and normal living expenses. – International medical insurance with 100% coverage (including up to three dependents and dental), life and permanent disability insurance are included, as well as a relocation allowance for satisfactory service. – The volunteer will be entitled to vacation and medical leave (if applicable), e-learning courses and training allowance, including language training (reimbursable). – Reimbursement of a maximum of US$400 to cover travel costs to the place of assignment and installation and repatriation allowance will be provided if the work assignment is not within a reasonable distance from the volunteer’s place of residence. – Full-time availability is required.

Inclusivity statement

United Nations Volunteers is an equal opportunity programme that welcomes applications from qualified professionals. We are committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, care protected characteristics. As part of their adherence to the values of UNV, all UN Volunteers commit themselves to combat any form of discrimination, and to promoting respect for human rights and individual dignity, without distinction of a person’s race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status.


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