Senior Protection Assistant, Quito, Ecuador At UNHCR – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Closing date: Thursday, 6 April 2023

Hardship Level: A (least hardship)

Family Type: Family

Family Type: Family

Residential location (if applicable): Grade: GS5

Staff Member / Affiliate Type: General Service

Reason: Regular > Regular Assignment

Remote work accepted: No

Target Start Date: 2023-06-01

Job Posting End Date: April 6, 2023

Standard Job Description: Senior Protection Assistant

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

The Senior Protection Assistant normally reports to a more senior Protection colleague. The incumbent monitors protection standards, operational procedures and practices in protection delivery in line with international standards and provides functional protection support to information management and programme staff.

The Senior Protection Assistant provides quality, timely and effective protection support to persons of concern (PoC) and identifies opportunities to mainstream protection methodologies and safeguards in operational responses. S/he contributes to designing a comprehensive protection strategy and may liaise externally with local authorities and partners on protection issues as guided by the supervisor.

The Senior Protection Assistant also ensures that PoC are involved in making decisions that affect them, whether in accessing their rights or in identifying appropriate solutions to their problems. To achieve this, the incumbent will need to build and maintain effective interfaces with communities of concern, local authorities and protection and assistance partners.

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.


  •  Consistently apply International and National Law and applicable UN/UNHCR and IASC policy, standards and codes of conduct.
  •  Provide counselling on protection issues to PoC; 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 PoC 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 GBV and child protection. Monitor and report on cases of refoulement, expulsion and other protection incidents.
  •  Assist in identifying durable solutions for PoC 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.
  •  Draft reports, routine correspondence, update relevant databases and compiling statistics within the Area of Responsibility (AoR).
  •  Contribute to initiatives to enhance national and local protection capacities.
  •  Select PoC for preliminary interviews and decide which relevant information to share.
  •  Enforce integrity in the delivery of protection services by local implementing partners.
  •  Perform other related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications

Education & Professional Work Experience

Years of Experience / Degree Level

G5 – 2 years relevant experience with High School Diploma; or 1 year relevant work experience with Bachelor or equivalent or higher

Field(s) of Education

Not applicable

Certificates and/or Licenses

International Law;

Political Science;

(Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Relevant Job Experience

Essential: Not specified.

Desirable: Not specified.

Functional Skills

IT-Computer Literacy

PR-Protection-related guidelines, standards and indicators

PR-Refugee Protection Principles and Framework

(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.

Desired Candidate Profile: ORGANIZATIONAL CONTEXT

Since 2000, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has worked in Ecuador to protect and assist one of the largest population of recognized refugees in Latin America and the Caribbean. Since 2016, more than six million Venezuelans have left their country; by the end of 2022 Ecuador was hosting some 500,000 Venezuelan refugees and migrants, many of whom are currently in an irregular status. The 2020 pandemic had a significant impact on the economy, affecting refugees, migrants and locals alike. This downturn is expected to continue in Ecuador and deepened human rights gaps which will adversely affect refugees and migrants, the vast majority of whom work in the informal sector, lack a social safety net and cannot cover their basic needs, such as rent and food.

UNHCR’s operation in Ecuador is fundamentally driven to deliver protection and solutions to a variety of persons of UNHCR’s concern like asylum-seekers, refugees and stateless people in partnership and close collaboration with national authorities as well as non-governmental organizations and communities. Particular attention and specific multi-faceted protection and assistance is often provided within short timeframes and at times little resources in demanding operational environment. The wide variety of activities is principally coordinated from the national office in Quito as well as the Sub and field offices.

Ecuador is a destination and transit country for persons in need of international protection, with a historical figure of over 70,000 recognized refugees (mainly Colombians) and an ongoing influx of refugees. The South American country has also become a main destination and a transit country for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, ranking third after Colombia and Peru. More than 500,000 Venezuelan refugees and migrants are estimated to be residing in Ecuador, with less than half of them holding a legal status.

UNHCR seeks to recruit persons devoted to the purposes of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees who is committed to humanitarian principles and holds functionally relevant work experience in the area of Protection. The Protection Unit covers four main areas: Legal Support, Community Based Protection, Resettlement and Registration and gives direct support in terms of capacity building as well as advisory service to Ecuadorian entities currently functioning on the national territory: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, National Assembly, Human Mobility Board, Human Rights Secretariat, Judicial Council, Constitutional Court, Ombudsman and Public Defender.

The Senior Protection Assistant has direct responsibilities regarding the provision of legal advice and support to field offices and as needed, support the Associate Protection Officer and the Senior Protection Officer with liaison and support to governmental institutions, partners and other protection actors. The position will also support inter-agency activities as needed by colleagues who are focal points to them, including for GTRM, UNDSCF and Migration Network. The position will have overall responsibility for engagement and reporting on human right treaty bodies reports and briefing as appropriate.

The ideal candidate shall have a solid legal background, excellent communication skills and related liaison competencies. He/she must have a solid experience with legal matters, including international human rights law and refugee law. The incumbent will require strong negotiation skills. Excellent drafting skills in Spanish and English are essential. Assertive communication, proactivity, and ability to work under pressure and tight deadlines.

For this position, English is mandatory (B2 level).

Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level):: ,

Desired languages: ,

Operational contextOccupational Safety and Health Considerations:Nature of Position:Living and Working Conditions:Additional Qualifications: SkillsIT-Computer Literacy, PR-Protection-related guidelines, standards and indicators, PR-Refugee Protection Principles and Framework


CertificationsInternational Law – Other, Political Science – Other

Work Experience

Competencies: Accountability, Analytical thinking, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Organizational awareness, Political awareness, Stakeholder management, Teamwork & collaboration

UNHCR Salary Calculator:

CompendiumAdditional InformationFunctional clearance: This position doesn’t require a functional clearance.


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