RSD EXPERT (UNOPS ICA Level 1)
NGO Jobs / UN Jobs Vacancy
1. General background
Niger is located in a geopolitical sensitive area in Africa: linking the Sahara desert with the Sahel, as well as West with Central Africa. This land-locked country not only accommodates a large number of refugees from neighboring countries but is also a major transit hub for migratory movements northwards to Algeria, Libya and the shores of the Mediterranean Sea toward the European Union (EU). As Niger is signatory of the treaty of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its protocols, citizens of most neighboring countries enjoy freedom of entry and movement within the country.
Although there is no reliable statistical data, it is estimated that more than 60 percent of all migrants crossing through Libya and then Central Mediterranean transit through Niger, with Agadez being the main stop over on the migrants route, followed by Dirkou on the road to Sebha in Libya and Arlit on the road to Tamanrasset in Algeria. In fact, following the effective closure of the migratory route through Senegal / Mauritania, the Niger route has grown increasingly popular with Sub-Saharan migrants, in particular from West Africa, given the closure of the Chad-Libya border and the fact that route joining North Mali to Tamanghasset in Algeria is too risky.
In this context, the situation in Agadez is characterized by a lack of effective State authority, both administrative and law enforcement, and viable economic development. Various economic activities depend on the flow of migrants and refugees i.e. transport, travel agencies, hotel-keepers, restaurant owners, sex-workers, mechanics, while many migrants are stuck in Niger because they cannot pay their passage or have been turned back or expelled from Libya or Algeria.
Although Trans-Saharan migration through Niger is not essentially refugee-related, it is noted that Mali and Nigeria rank high amongst the countries of origin. Although it is not known what segments of the migrants originate from conflict zones in these countries, there is a viable assumption that part of the migrant population could fall under UNHCR’s mandate. Based on IOM statistics, some 100,000 migrants were assisted in their reception centers, notably in Agadez in 2014. UNHCR has been working closely with IOM toward establishing and improving standard operating procedures where identified asylum-seekers among migrants can be referred with a view to seek access to international protection, assistance and access to Refugee Status Determination (RSD) procedures established by authorities of Niger.
UNHCR estimates that in the absence of any foreseeable solutions to the underlying causes of regional instability that produce migration and refugee flows, trend of population movements from West and Central Africa through Agadez will persist in the coming years. Until monitoring and identification mechanisms allow more accurate projections of expected populations of concern, UNHCR initially plans to process asylum requests of an estimated 100 referrals per month in 2016 with the assumption is that the number of asylum seekers will gradually increase in 2017.
Since 2012, Niger has also been hosting around 60.000 Malian refugees who fled violence in northern Mali following a major and ongoing political crackdown that has prompted the country into violence. Although tripartite agreements were signed to provide a framework for spontaneous returns to Mali from Niger, UNHCR is still of the opinion that the current situation in northern Mali where these refugees come from is not conducive for return. Original initiatives are in place to facilitate self-reliance for this caseload. This includes settlements in Refugee hosting Areas as opposed to camps, cash-based interventions, support to livelihood initiatives etc. In addition some five thousand urban refugees are hosted in Niamey (mainly from Mali) and around six hundred in Zinder, essentially from Chad
Since 2014, the ongoing regional fight against the ex-Boko haram Islamic group have generated significant displacements in Diffa region in south eastern Niger which is now host to a mixed situation, with Nigerian refugees, Nigerien returnees from Nigeria and formal IDPs living in close vicinity. Most of those displaced in Diffa region are scattered in tens of spontaneous sites and some are in host communities.
Against this background, the Government has agreed to establish an Evacuation Transit Mechanism (ETM). The mechanism aims at removing PoCs from detention in Libya with a transit in Niger pending more durable solutions. Asylum-seekers evacuated to Niger under this mechanism undergo RSD, with UNHCR conducting interviews and making analysis and recommendation on eligibility to refugee status. It is anticipated that a good number of those recognized as refugees will be resettled outside Niger. The Government has also agreed to provide asylum in Niger in a limited number of cases and VolRep remains available throughout the process.
The incumbent will conduct interviews and assessments of asylum-seekers international protection needs. He/She will report to UNHCR RSD supervisor.
2. Purpose and Scope of Assignement
The RSD Expert (Level1) will be a member of the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) team in the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) in Niger. S/he is responsible for conducting RSD interviews to determine eligibility for refugee status for those evacuated from Libya under the ETM, undertaking country of origin (COI) and other research related to the claim, as required, and drafting RSD assessments. The RSD Expert (Level1) provides counselling to asylum seekers and refugees on the RSD procedures at the ETM and on their status, rights and obligations in the country of asylum. S/he may be asked to interview and assess simple and complex RSD cases (including cases with exclusion issues), seeking the advice of a more senior RSD/Protection Officer as needed, and may assist in developing and implementing RSD training and other measures to enhance the quality and efficiency of RSD decision-making.
The RSD Expert (Level1) would be expected to produce on average up to 5 Regular RSD cases a week, including interview and assessment. The RSD Expert (Level1) may be asked to help research and draft legal analysis to be used in template forms and be asked to draft Simplified RSD assessments using such forms. If Simplified RSD is used, the target output of RSD cases would be higher, depending on the degree of simplification.
The RSD Expert (Level1) may be asked to conduct registration, protection or resettlement and merged and simplified RSD/RST interviews and casework on an exceptional basis, depending on operational needs.
Under the supervision and guidance of the RSD Officer, the RSD Expert (Level1) will be responsible for the following
Conduct RSD Regular interviews and draft RSD Assessments in accordance with applicable standards and guidelines (up to 5 Regular RSD a week)
Conduct and draft Simplified RSD in accordance with applicable standards and guidelines if needed.
Draft RSD rejection letters as needed
Gather information relating to resettlement needs at the RSD interviews.
Revise and amend draft RSD Assessments based on feedback received from reviewer.
Stay abreast of legal, political, security and other developments which impact on the protection environment, and in particular, on protection delivery through RSD.
Maintain accurate and up-to date records and data related to all work on individual cases.
Provide counselling to asylum seekers and refugees.
Assist in preventing and identifying fraud in RSD
Assist in monitoring RSD trends and in compiling and analysing RSD statistics related to RSD case processing to identify and respond to developments or issues impacting on the efficiency or quality of RSD decision-making, and to propose remedial measures.
Conduct research on country of origin information (COI) and legal issues related to RSD and assist in maintaining a local repository of relevant information, guidelines, templates and standards accessible to RSD staff in the operation.
On exceptional basis conduct registration, protection or resettlement interviews and draft related documents.
Perform any other task as necessary and as intructed by supervisor.
3. Monitoring and progress controls
Regular RSD iterviews conducted; RSD Assessments drafted in accordance with applicable standards and guidelines (up to 10 Regular RSD a week)
Cases processed under merged and simplified RSD/RST procedure ; RRFs drafted (up to 2 RRFs per day)
Simplified RSD coducted in accordance with applicable standards and guidelines (targets based on degree of simplification) if needed.
RSD Expert (Level1) will be required to maintain accurate and up-to date records and data related to all work on individual cases.
4. Qualifications and Experience
University degree (equivalent of a BA/BS) in Law, Political Science, International Relations or another related field.
b. Work Experience
Minimum of two years of work experience in relevant field (e.g. assisting refugees in a registration, RSD or resettlement context, case advocacy, legal aid provider to asylum seekers)
Minimum 1 year of direct RSD casework experience
c. Key Competencies
Knowledge of International Refugee Law and Human Rights Law and ability to apply the relevant legal principles.
Excellent oral and written communication skills.
Excellent interviewing and counselling skills in an RSD context as demonstrated in previous assignments;
Very strong attention to detail, very strong analytical skills, as demonstrated in previous assignments;
Demonstrated awareness of gender issues and how to apply rights and community-based approach to identify and respond to specific needs;
Ability to work effectively in stressful situations and in hardship locations
Demonstrated knowledge of Refugee law, Human Rights Law and ability to apply the relevant legal principles.
Demonstrated awareness of UNHCR mandate, the importance of preventing fraud and ways to mitigate risks;
Ability to assess and to identify protection risks of individuals and groups, and family reunification needs, as demonstrated in past assignments.
Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively in teams;
Strong research (in particular in relation to country of origin information) and analytical skill
Knowledge of and/or preparedness to become familiar with and abide by UNHCR’s principles, code of conduct and humanitarian goals;
Knowledge of UNHCR guidelines on refugee status determination / resettlement;
Excellent knowledge of English, including excellent drafting and written skills in English;
Excellent knowledge of French, including excellent drafting and written skills in French would be an asset
Experience conducting RSD on different caseloads
Experience in conducting RSD on complex cases or cases that raise issues relating to exclusion under 1F of the refugee convention.
Experience in working with vulnerable or traumatized individuals.
Experience in conducting resettlement
Completion of UNHCR's RSD Learning Programme, Resettlement Learning Program. COI Learning Programme, or Protection Learning Programme.
How to apply:
Composition of the Application File.
Application must include
. A signed letter of motivation addressed to the to the Representative
. A detailed CV with an e-mail address and/or a personnel record (P11) up to date and available for download at
Procedure for the submission of the Application File
Send the application package online to the following address: NGRNIAPP@unhcr.org
Enter the references of the vacancy notice on the subject line: AVP/AWF/002/2021 - RSD EXPERT (Level 1) Niamey
The attachments (letter of motivation, p11, CV, etc) must be on separate files and not exceed 20 MB.
Only shortlisted candidates will be called for an oral interview.
UNHCR is non-smoking environment
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