Job Title: Quality Assurance Initiative (QAI) Consultant /CDMX Vacancy Notice: VN-68-19-MEX Position Number 68-19
Location: Ciudad de Mexico Position Grade: Level A Closing Date: 2019-06-18
Organizational Context

The RSD system in Mexico has faced several challenges in recent years. The number of applications for asylum has dramatically increased, from 3,400 new asylum applications in 2015, to 8,900 in 2016, 14,500 in 2017 and 29,600 in 2018, in 2019 this upward trend continues, with current estimations as high as 80,000. This has sometimes overstretched the capacity of COMAR to register and document persons of concern, and has caused the wait times for RSD to grow, which has had negative protection impacts on asylum-seekers. Additionally, the capacity of COMAR in certain locations was negatively impacted after severe damage to the physical infrastructure of COMAR in the 2017 earthquake. Mexico also recently went through elections and has a new government, including a new director of COMAR. Mexicoís new government has approved a new Migration Policy with a renewed human rights approach, and the new COMAR director brings expertise and experience in refugee protection. Nonetheless, despite urgent and increasing needs, COMARís overall budget for 2019 has been reduced by 20%. COMAR depends almost entirely on UNHCR financial support. 

Against the background of the political situation in Mexico, UNHCR will support the Mexican government to increase the fairness, efficiency, adaptability and integrity of the national asylum system, mostly through the Quality Assurance Initiative.

This consultancy aims at supporting UNHCR Mexico in building and strengthening the capacity of COMAR and other administrative and judicial authorities involved in asylum adjudications and refugee status determination (RSD) procedures in Mexico. Activities considered for this consultancy are to be construed on the basis of the COMAR-UNHCR joint recommendations elaborated in December 2013 an updated in 2018, as well as the 2019 QAI Work Plan endorsed by COMAR.

Accountability

The Consultant is expected to:
  • Work closely with COMARís General Coordinator and Directors to ensure the QAI strategy is implemented and adjusted according to priorities. The Consultant will advise the General Coordinator in overall strategic directions and resource management.
  • Coordinate QAI Activities in COMAR, including through the coaching and provision of technical guidance to the QAI Consultant based in Tapachula, the QAI Consultant for Registration based in Mexico City, and the QAI Consultant focusing on legal issues based also in Mexico City. 
  • Work closely with asylum adjudicators, in charge of first and second instance administrative asylum decisions, promoting the use of a consistent framework of analysis to assess claims, the observation of UNHCR guidelines and, ensuring due and continuous follow-up to the implementation QAI 2013 recommendations updated in 2018;
  • Promote efficiency measures to respond to the large increase in the asylum applications, in line with a work plan developed in 2019 to improve access to the procedure, documentation and reduce backlog in first and second instance administrative asylum decisions;
  • Based on the summary conclusions on the interpretation of the extended refugee definition in the 1984 Cartagena Declaration, elaborated at the expert roundtable held in Montevideo in October 2013, promote and facilitate the effective analysis and consideration by COMAR of the refugee definition included in article 13 (II) of the Mexican Refugee Law; 
  • Conduct regular assessments of COMARís capacity to qualitatively absorb the increase in asylum claims, including through the monitoring of access to the procedure and through the revision of individual asylum decisions being taken in Mexico City and field delegations, producing regular reports on progresses as well as on persisting and new gaps;
  • Work closely with staff of the Mexican MFA (Human Rights & Democracy Division) in strengthening their ability to effectively and timely deliver Country of Origin Information (COI) reports in the context of asylum adjudication in Mexico, as foreseen by Mexican Law. Support COMAR in creating their own COI Unit; 
  • Support UNHCR Mexico in UNHCRís direct engagement with the Federal Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal Federal de Justicia Administrativa), the Supreme Court of Justice and other judicial instances, particularly in the context of asylum adjudication analysis and the organization of training and other activities to legal/judicial professionals in Mexico. 
  • Elaborate, organize and deliver training activities on refugee status determination to COMAR staff, promoting the effective observation of UNHCR Manual and Guidelines among asylum decision makers.
  • Support UNHCR Mexico in the effective implementation of a regional plan of action celebrated in the context of ongoing collaboration among UNHCR and asylum authorities in the US and Canada.
  • Other duties as required.

Responsibility

Deliverable 1: Inception report detailing the consultant understanding of the task and the methodology to be employed to complete the tasks. Due after the first month of the contract.
Deliverable 2: Detailed monthly reports describing the progress within the work plan.
Deliverable 3: Final consultancy report. Due at the end of the contract, with concrete recommendations and timeline.

 

 

 

Authority

N/A

Essential Minimum Qualifications and Experience

a. Education

  • University degree in Law, International Relations or related fields. 

b. Work Experience 

  • This corresponds to a function providing specialized services or expertise in asylum procedures and RSD within the Mexican legal framework with knowledge of International Refugee Law and Human Rights Law and ability to apply the relevant legal principles. Solid knowledge on Mexican administrative law is an asset.  
  • Relevant work experience of 6 years, including within governmental entities.

Desirable Qualifications & Competencies

  • Experience working with government entities, or legal clinics, or with UNHCR or any other humanitarian organization is an asset.
  • Fluency in Spanish and working knowledge of English.

Competencies

  • Excellent liaison and interpersonal skills. 
  • Ability to work well under pressure on multiple tasks simultaneously, establish priorities and deliver quality output in a most time-efficient manner. 
  • Excellent Planning and Organizing skills
  • Excellent computer skills, in particular Microsoft Office. 
  • Excellent drafting skills and ability to facilitate trainings and conduct on the job training. 

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