Job Title: Senior Protection Assistant Vacancy Notice: VN-029-20-MEX Position Number 029-20
Location: Ciudad de Mexico Position Grade: LICA 5 Closing Date: 2020-02-16
Organizational Context

UNHCR continues to observe an increasing number of asylum claims being submitted by citizens of countries of Northern Central America in Mexico, including a significant number of people with specific protection needs, such as LGBTI persons, unaccompanied and separated children, women at risk and survivors of violence, among others. Additionally, asylum claims by Venezuelans and extracontinental individuals have contributed to an unprecedented level of asylum claims in Mexico. 

Within this context, UNHCR protection activities consist mainly of (i) providing legal and basic material assistance and information to refugees and asylum-seekers, through local partners and ensuring access to a fair and efficient refugee status determination (RSD) procedure, including those in detention; (ii) promoting livelihoods and local integration; and (iii) the delivery of training activities to different governmental staff and civil society organizations on basic principles of International Refugee Law, in particular Mexican Refugee Commission staff (COMAR), Migration officials (INM) and the Child Protection Authority (Procuraduría).

UNHCR monitors COMAR-led RSD procedures, ensuring the provision of legal aid both in the context of community-based shelters and within detention facilities. In close coordination with COMAR, UNHCR also aims at facilitating access to and the timely finalization of RSD procedures. In coordination with the National Inmigration Institute (INM), UNHCR regularly visits migration detention facilities, informing those detained on their right to seek asylum in Mexico, ensuring the prevention and responses to instances of refoulement as well as promoting alternatives to detention.

The office also works closely with the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) on diverse issues affecting the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees. With the Mexican Child Protection Authority (Procuradura), UNHCR works to ensure proper protection responses and the systematic implementation of BID procedures for unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children.

UNHCR also delivers training activities to both government and civil society agencies on a wide range of issues, including on RSD, basic principles of refugee law, child protection and the prevention and response to instances of SGBV.  


Monitoring and Progress Controls: 

The Snr. Protection Assistant is expected to ensure the regular and timely compilation of protection-related information being collected at the field level, ensuring appropriate guidance on the required responses is implemented and aiming at the effectiveness of UNHCR interventions, in particular on individual situations affecting human rights of asylum seekers and refugees. 

  • Number of reports and protection-oriented notes and interventions elaborated or implemented, including instances where the Snr. Protection Assistant has substantially contributed to the drafting of specific protection reports.
  • Number of individuals effectively accessing asylum procedures in Mexico. Particular attention will be provided to the number of individuals accessing asylum procedures in regions not covered by UNHCR Field offices;
  • Number of individuals beneffiting from legal aid services, by UNHCR, partners, Pro Bono Allies, legal clinics and other free legal aid services;
  • Number of individuals accessing appeals and juridictional procedures to ensure access to rights and services including the right to seek and receive asylum;
  • Number of individuals benneffiting from free legal aid and representation during their appeals and jurisdictional procedures. 
  • Number of individuals being informed on their right to seek asylum in the context of migration detention (nationwide);
  • Number of protection interventions implemented, in particular those related to (i) the prevention and responses to potential instances of refoulement; (ii) the provision of effective alternatives to detention (including those benneffitting children); and (iii) all others aimed at responding to special protection needs (in particular the LGBTI, women at risk and survivors of violence);
  • Number of field missions conducted, including the provision of timely and adequate Notes for the File and Mission Reports submitted to the Senior Protection Officer.


Under the overall supervision of the Assistant Protection Officer, the Snr. Protection Assistant will be required to:

  • Conduct regular monitoring visits to migration detention centres and community-based shelters for the identification of people in need of international protection, the provision of adequate information on RSD procedures and the timely documentation of situations affecting asylum seekers and refugees' human rights.
  • Deliver training on basic principles of refugee law, with emphasis on the prevention of instances of refoulement, to government and civil society agencies, contributing to capacity building efforts to better identify, inform and channel potential asylum seekers. 
  • Ensure the proper collection of qualitative and quantitative data on issues considered to be of concern to UNHCR. This includes the regular collection of detention and RSD-related statistical information and drafting specific protection reports, as required by the Senior Protection Officer. 
  • Contribute to the development and strengthening of the legal aid network by, in collaboration with the Assistant Protection Officer, developing and updating a legal strategy that involves identification of key actors, relevant issues with the asylum system and legal pathways to overcome these issues.
  • Coordinate the Pro Bono Ally (PBA) network by ensuring there is adequate communication with current PBAs, referring cases in need of legal assistance to the PBAs according to their expertise, offering training and identifying potential PBAs both in Mexico City and the Field and offering them the possibility to become Allies;
  • Collaborate with the Assistant Protection Officer in engaging legal partners, Pro Bono Allies and Legal clinics to participate in joint legal strategies to address challenges in the asylum procedure.
  • Conduct legal analysis as required by the Senior Protection Officer. 
  • Compile relevant information being collected by Field Offices qualitative information obtained through needs and participatory assessments exercises, with emphasis on the protection situation of groups with special needs sch as unaccompanied children, the LGBTI, women at risk and survivors of violence.
  • Contribute to the development, implementation and review of standard operating procedures (SOPs) on a wide range of protection issues including instances of refoulement, legal representation, special procedures on situations involving unaccompanied and separated children, prevention and responses to SGBV as well as other situations arising from the field. 
  • Monitor and provide guidance to UNHCR field staff and partners dedicated to legal aid, ensuring asylum seekers and refugees receive timely, adequate and processional legal assistance and representation, in particular in the context of RSD procedures.
  • Support the creation and functioning of protection and legal networks aimed at ensuring the highest number of asylum seekers have access to legal aid and orientation. 
  • Regularly contribute to different protection reports, ensuring the timely provision of precise and well-written analysis of protection issues affecting asylum seekers and refugees’ human rights nationwide. 
  • Carry out any other duties, as required and under the permanent guidance of the Assistant Protection Officer.






Essential Minimum Qualifications and Experience


  • Completed Secondary Education with advanced training/certification/studies in law. University degree is not required but desirable.

 Work Experience

  • Minimum five years’ experience related to the above description of activities
  • Excellent drafting skills in Spanish; good knowledge of both written and oral English
  • Ability to work in an international multicultural environment, demonstrating flexibility and adaptability in the face of adverse and sometimes urgent situations affecting asylum seekers and refugees
  • Excellent communication skills including with both civil society and government staff
  • Ability to effectively engage in a constructive dialogue with asylum seekers, refugees, members of host communities and other stakeholders

Desirable Qualifications & Competencies

  • MS Office excellent knowledge and management.


  • Demonstrated skills to make good and quick decisions, including under pressure;
  • Demonstrated ability to work in stressful, and demanding situations affecting individual cases
  • Demonstrated ability to deliver presentations and training, including in public settings;
  • Demonstrated ability to manage personal and protected data information in a professional manner
  • Demonstrated ability of time management, and work organization skills

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