Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

In the Bureaux, the Senior Protection Officer works under the direct supervision of the Bureau Deputy Director or Head of Bureau Protection Service or Senior Protection Coordinator. In the Field, the incumbent normally reports to the Representative, Deputy or Assistant Representative (Protection) or Head of Sub Office as appropriate. The incumbent has direct supervisory responsibility for protection staff whose work may include RSD, community-based protection, registration, resettlement, internal displacement, complementary pathways, and education, among other areas. In HQ, the incumbent may report to a Chief of Section or Deputy Director and may lead a Unit and/or supervise other protection staff. The incumbent acts as a key advisor to senior management and leads the development of 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 Senior Protection Officer plans, leads and coordinates quality, timely and effective protection responses to the needs of populations of concern under the AoR. This includes ensuring that operational responses in all sectors are shaped in a protection optic, are consistent with and promote respect for relevant international law and UNHCR’s doctrine, mainstream protection methodologies and integrate protection safeguards. Another important element of the incumbent¿s functions is to ensure 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 legal, political, social, economic and cultural developments that have an impact on the protection environment.

– Manage 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, ensure the response of the Protection Cluster is grounded in a strategy which covers all assessed and prioritized protection needs of the affected populations.

– Ensure that the protection strategy is fully integrated into the Country Operations Plan, the UN Development and Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the Humanitarian Country Team’s common humanitarian response plan 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 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.

– Guide the operation in the development and implementation of robust prevention, identification, and responses to fraud within protection processes and procedures, including registration, RSD, and resettlement, ensuring the integrity of interventions across all protection activities.

– Oversee the management of 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 eligibility and status determination in the Operation(s) under the AoR, ensuring compliance with UNHCR procedural standards and international protection principles.

– Promote and implement strategies and measures to identify, prevent and reduce statelessness. – Develop and implement an education plan as part of the protection strategy within the AoR as relevant.

– Develop and implement 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 concerns 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, supporting, and/or overseeing resettlement and complementary pathways activities, including implementation of the GCR Three Year Strategy.

– Coordinate the design, implementation and evaluation of protection related programming with implementing and operational partners.

– Develop and implement 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.

– Research, collect and disseminate relevant protection information and good practices to enhance protection delivery.

– Develop the protection capacity of national and local authorities, partners and civil society to assume their responsibilities vis-à-vis all persons of concern through protection training, mainstreaming and related activities.

– Coordinate capacity-development 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.

– 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 with 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 country level to comply with policies 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) coordinate and review UNHCR¿s country reports to the UN human rights mechanisms. – Engage in relevant international and regional fora and forge 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.

Minimum Qualifications

Years of Experience / Degree Level For P4/NOD – 9 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 8 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 7 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, Political Sciences or other relevant field. (Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential) Certificates and/or Licenses Protection Learning Programme RSD-Resettlement Learning Programme Management Learning Programme (Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Relevant Job Experience


Minimum 7 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. Very good knowledge of International Refugee and Human Rights Law and ability to apply the relevant legal principles, and of UNHCR¿s protection strategies and policies. Excellent legal research, analytical skills and drafting. Desirable Diverse field experience. Good IT skills including database management skills.

Functional Skills *PR-Protection-related guidelines, standards and indicators *PR-Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD) PR-Refugee Coordination Model PR-Human Rights Doctrine/Standards PR-International Humanitarian Law PR-Assessment of IDPs Status, Rights, Obligation PR-Comprehensive Solutions Framework LE-Judicial Engagement 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)

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

The candidate must have served as a Senior Protection Officer or Protection Officer for at least 5 years in a large refugee operation such as Uganda. He or she must be flexible and have the qualities of trainers to raise the level of protection in the operation and above all to strengthen the operational capacity of the protection section and especially of the governmental and non-governmental partners who work with UNHCR daily. She must have skills in child protection, community-based protection, GBV, Education and registration. He or she must have conflict management skills, be resource oriented, able to coordinate, team spirit. He or she must have a very good communication, analytics, and good knowledge of English to write reports. He or she will be able to determine risk in protection, committed to PSEA activities, risk of fraud and encourage denunciation by persons we serve (PWS). He or she will know to respect the reporting line.

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


Desired languages


Operational context

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:

Political instability in some areas of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), continued to drive thousands of people out of their homes into Uganda. In 2022 about 100,000 Congolese were displaced into Southwest Uganda where this position will be based. As of 31 December 2022, the Southwest Uganda operation serves over 383,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers, namely from the DRC (82%), Burundi (09%), Rwanda (05%), Somalia (03%) and other nationalities (01%). With an open-door policy and refugees having freedom of movement and the right to work, Uganda offers a very interesting, complex and challenging operational context for the implementation of humanitarian and development interventions, in areas receiving and hosting refugees. The operation has limited funding and yet requires significant Protection capacities. At the same time, the operation has to respond to continues new arrivals from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including moments of mass emergency influxes.

All new arrivals entering to Uganda, through the Southwest region, is received from the border through established transit centers and then progressively transferred from the transit center to the settlements. UNHCR works hand-in-hand with the government partner (Office of the Prime Minister – Department of Refugees, OPM-DoR) and other UNHCR implementing partners and border officials in order to ensure systematic access to territory and asylum

With OPM responsible for refugee and asylum seeker registration in the database, proGres v4, the People We Serve (PWS) are biometrically registered, and documentation are issued to the population. In coordination OPM and UNHCR work with implementing partners, operational partners, other UN agencies, local government district authorities, as well as members of the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) and development stakeholders to undertake Protection and improve Social Safeguards. Specific active sub-sectors include Community Based Protection (including Mental Health, Psychosocial Support), Legal-Physical Protection (including Access to Territory and Access to Asylum), Child Protection, Gender Based Violence, Education and Integrity. Protection also undertakes durable solutions, namely Resettlement and Complementary Pathways, Voluntary Repatriation (of Burundians) and Inclusion of PWS’ within the national systems of Uganda.

UNHCR Southwest operation undertook a seven-month refugees’ verification and individual profiling exercise (VRX/IPE) from October 2021 to April 2022, and completed the related Grace Period at the end of 2022. The operation also undertook Backlog Registration related to the PWS having entered during the COVID-19 border closure between 2020 & 2022.

The UNHCR Data Transformation Strategy 2020-2025 envisions that by 2025 UNHCR becomes a trusted leader on data and information related to refugees and other persons of concern (POC), thereby enabling actions to protect and to empower them. The Strategy invests in four complementary priority areas: data management and governance; information systems; capacities and skill development; and culture for evidence-informed decision-making. Protection Information Management (PIM) is a core strategic tool to make the most of Protection capacities to improve the quality and quantity of Protection information available.

Under the direct supervision of the Head of Sub-Office, the incumbent will be expected to provide technical and strategic leadership in all areas of Protection within Sub-Office’s area of responsibility, covering 5 refugee settlements with two Field Offices (Nakivale and Kyaka) and one Field Unit (Rwamwanja), as well as three Transit Centers, two of which are covered by Field Unit Kisoro and the other being covered by Field Unit Rwamwanja. The incumbent is also required to liaise with the Representation Office in Kampala. As of January 2023, the Sub-Office Mbarara Protection Unit consisting of 7 staff, inclusive of the Senior Protection Officer and a Protection Officer, an Associate Protection Officer, an Associate Registration & Identity Management Officer (RIMO) and four national staff, of which 2 are officers.

Living and Working Conditions:

Sub-Office Mbarara is located in the Southwest part of Uganda. It is about 268 km (5 hours) from Kampala, the capital city. Mbarara is a family duty station, with options to rent houses or apartments in UNDSS-cleared areas. An average house rental in Mbarara is from 500 to 800 USD/month. Being a Family Duty Station, R&R is not provided for staff assigned in Mbarara

There are vibrant local markets in Mbarara town and few local supermarkets are also available. There are very few international schools Mbarara. Most of the international schools are available in Kampala and Entebbe areas. One or two health facilities are available in Mbarara, but serious health issues are referred to Kampala. The banking system in Mbarara is quite available including ATM.

International staff normally place their families in Mbarara. But for personal reasons some staff could place their children in boarding schools in Kampala/Entebbe for those with school age dependents.

All travels between Kampala and Mbarara are undertaken by road (270 Kms).

Generally calm and peaceful security situation in the country, however threats of petit crimes continue to prevail in urban areas, especially Kampala, Entebbe and Mbarara.

In term of security risks, just like other major towns in the country, most of these crimes are economically motivated or opportunistic in nature. In term of traffic accidents, across the country, fatal road traffic accidents remain high. Occasionally, disputes of both political and economic nature persist which may involve traders, taxi operators, hawkers, students in major towns creating a fertile ground for protests/demonstrations.

Sporadic security incidents occasionally happened in Mbarara and neighboring areas. This also applies to the settlements under our area of responsibility.

Additional Qualifications



BA: International Law (Required), BA: Law (Required), BA: Political Science (Required)


HCR Management Learning Program – UNHCR, HCR Protection Learning Program – UNHCR, HCR Resettlement Learning Program – UNHCR

Work Experience


Accountability, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Judgement & decision making, Leadership, Managing performance, Negotiation & conflict resolution, Organizational awareness, Planning & organizing, Political awareness, Strategic planning & visions, Teamwork & collaboration

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Add. 3 to Bi-annual Compendium 2022 – Part B

Additional Information

Functional clearance

This position doesn’t require a functional clearance

How to apply



The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

Closing date of receipt of applications: 16 March 2023 (midnight Geneva time)