Having entered the fifth decade of their displacement, Afghan refugees constitute one of the largest protracted displacement crises of our time. Over the years, the region has remained in flux and return movements have been interspersed with waves of emigration, sporadic flows of refugees, and exponential internal displacement. COVID-19 has pushed millions of vulnerable people further into poverty, with potential implications for population movements within the region and further afield. Hundreds of thousands remain further afield, notably in Germany, other European Union Member States and Turkey.
Between 2002 and 2020 an estimated 7 million Afghans have returned to Afghanistan, with more than 5.2 million being refugees who have voluntarily repatriated with UNHCR’s assistance. Refugee returns during the last three years have been far lower than in previous years, with 2,147 Afghan refugees returned from Pakistan (1,092), Iran (939), and other countries (116) in 2020, the lowest return figure that could be attributed to the deteriorating political, security and economic situation in Afghanistan and the impact of COVID-19. These returns have taken place against a backdrop of increased internal displacement due to conflict and natural disaster. OCHA, estimates that overall, nearly five million persons have been displaced since 2012 and have not returned to their place of origin.
Despite strong political will to achieve peace in Afghanistan, uncertainties result from the current political context, including the significant delays in the intra-Afghan peace negotiations and the withdrawal of US troops as part of the US/Taliban negotiations. There are currently two elements constituting the international military forces in Afghanistan: the US Operation Freedom with 2,500 troops, which were recently reduced from 4,500 troops on 15 January 2021 with a possible complete withdrawal by May 2021; and the NATO Resolute Support with fewer than 12,000 troops from dozens of nations involved in a non-combat mission of training and advising the Afghan security forces.
There are 72,445 refugees living in Afghanistan. Most of this group were displaced from Pakistan to Afghanistan in 2014 and settled in areas of Khost and Paktika provinces. A small number (approximately 380 people) reside in urban areas of Kabul and other cities. Refugees constitute one of the most vulnerable populations in the country. They face significant legal challenges due to the fact that that the National Law on Asylum still has not been enacted.
UNHCR provides international protection and finds solutions to the refugee situation in Afghanistan building upon the ongoing consultations within the context of the Support Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) and the Global Compact on Refugees. These include the Inaugural Meeting of the Core Group of the SSAR Support Platform (7 October 2020), the 7th Meeting of the SSAR Quadripartite Steering Committee (1 October 2020), and the High-Level Meeting on the SSAR Support Platform (6 July 2020).
While ongoing security challenges remain significant, there is also an opportunity at present for Afghanistan’s gradual progression on the path towards peace and stability, which could pave the way for the long-awaited solution of voluntary repatriation. UNHCR will expand the Priority Area of Return and Reintegration (PARR) from 20 to 40 areas in 2021. Full, explicit and impactful inclusion of returning refugees into national development planning and programming is essential to enable their sustainable reintegration which will in turn solidify and fortify the broader peacebuilding, reconciliation and stabilization efforts, the integral linkages between timely, inclusive and forward-looking planning for return and reintegration and the three overarching pillars of Afghanistan’s National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF II) for 2021-2025, as well as relevant implementation mechanisms, including the National Priority Programs (NPPs):
- Peacebuilding: ensuring that the imperative of voluntary return and reintegration is firmly embedded in relevant peace processes and any subsequent agreement with a view to enabling returning refugees to become part of cohesive and harmonious communities and to
participate in peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts.
- Market-building: capitalizing on the human capital, skills and assets acquired by refugees in host countries to support market-building efforts and address human resource gaps, including through return of qualified individuals, private sector investments or opportunities for regional connectivity; and
- State-building: advancing inclusion of the displaced in development processes, planning and programmes; with particular focus on enhancing absorption capacity and delivery of quality services and ensuring rights through targeted humanitarian, development, and peace (triple nexus) investments in priority areas of return and reintegration, building resilience of communities as a whole; in full alignment with the strategic long-term approach to peacebuilding outlined by the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
in complex humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters where UNHCR is designated as the Protection Cluster Lead Agency under the Cluster Approach, UNHCR performs a dedicated coordination, strategy development and advocacy function through the positions of P5/P4 Protection Cluster Coordination Officer and the supporting positions of P3 Protection Cluster Coordination Officer and/or P2 Associate Protection Cluster Coordination Officer.
These latter P2 level positions normally report directly to the P5/P4 Protection Cluster Coordination Officer. The UNHCR Representative has final accountability for the performance of UNHCR as Cluster Lead Agency.
The Associate Protection Cluster Coordination Officer supports UNHCR to work within the framework of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and the Cluster Approach. The position reinforces UNHCR Protection Cluster Lead Agency functions by providing support to the role of Cluster Coordinator in ensuring UNHCR¿s leadership within a diverse protection community.
The Associate Protection Cluster Coordination Officer is expected to facilitate the work of the Protection Cluster through the provision of support in analysis, organization and reporting. This includes the provision of active support, as applicable, to sub-clusters or working groups of the Cluster which may be coordinated by other Agencies. As a result, the incumbent supports an inter-agency team in an environment that requires high standards of accountability, facilitation, negotiation and conflict resolution skills, in which respect the principles of partnership and collaboration are essential.
The Associate Protection Cluster Coordination Officer supports the Protection Cluster Coordinator in Inter-Cluster Coordination mechanisms, for advocacy and facilitation of protection mainstreaming and cross-cutting issues of age, gender and diversity in the humanitarian response and early recovery activities.
The Associate Protection Cluster Coordination Officer works closely with multi-functional Protection Cluster Support staff in the areas of data and information management, needs assessment, profiling, registration, reporting and advocacy.
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.
– Support the Protection Cluster to ensure that protection informs and shapes the overall humanitarian response and that the protection response is integrated into the Humanitarian Country Team¿s common humanitarian action plan.
– Organize and facilitate meetings in line with the Principles of Partnership, ensuring that cluster meetings are consultative and results-oriented.
– Facilitate coordination with government counterparts and other relevant authorities
– Facilitate the coordination and conduct of Protection Cluster or Inter-Cluster level protection needs assessments, including participatory assessments of affected populations.
– Provide inputs to development of common funding criteria, resource mobilisation and prioritization within the Protection Cluster for inclusion in Consolidated Appeals and pooled funds processes.
– Assist in the delivery of protection training activities for Protection Cluster members, other local partners, and relevant authorities.
– Coordinate initiatives to build the protection capacity of the national and local government, partners and civil society.
– Through Cluster-wide consultative processes, provide input into the development of global protection policy and standards led by the Global Protection Cluster.
– Support reporting and information sharing within the Protection Cluster and at the inter-cluster level.
– Support and facilitate the Protection Cluster information management strategy and mechanisms.
– Ensure that the Protection Cluster produces regular updates and briefing notes on the protection concerns in the affected population, response activities, challenges and recommendations.
– Help foster a consistent interpretation and application of international law and related UNHCR and IASC legal standards and protection policies.
– Promote the Protection Cluster¿s adherence to international human rights instruments, the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement as well as other relevant international and regional instruments; in cooperation with the Humanitarian Country Team support local interventions when violations of international protection standards and principles occur.
– Promote and help strengthen national legislation relevant to internal displacement and durable solutions.
– Draft reports and prepare advocacy statements on behalf of the Protection Cluster – for clearance by Senior management.
– Organise and facilitate cluster meetings, work and cooperate with focal points sub-groups/working groups and ad hoc/task-related bodies for specific issues.
– Facilitate negotiation with the Humanitarian Coordinator/Resident Coordinator, the Humanitarian Country Team and cluster members on the prioritization and inclusion of project proposals and common funding criteria for inclusion in inter-agency funding appeals.
– Perform other related duties as required.
Education & Professional Work Experience
Years of Experience / Degree Level
For P2/NOB – 3 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 2 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 1 year relevant experience with Doctorate degree
Field(s) of Education
Law; International Law; Political Sciences;
or other relevant field.
(Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)
Certificates and/or Licenses
HCR Coordination Lrng Prog; Tri-Cluster Knowl/Coord Skills; HCR Protection Learning Prg;
Prot in NaturalDisaster Situat;
(Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential)
Relevant Job Experience
Good knowledge of International Refugee and Human Rights Law.
LE-Human Rights Law;
LE-International Refugee Law;
(Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential)
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.
The management of the advertised openings in this announcement is in line with UNHCR Recruitment and Assignment Policy (RAP).
The vacancies are open to eligible internal and external applicants.
- Internal applicants are requested to submit their applications through Workday – Menu – Career. It is important that applicants update their Profiles (languages, education and prior working experience) before submitting their applications.
- External applicants are requested to submit their applications through the UNHCR Careers – Careers (myworkdayjobs.com). You will need to create an account as “New User” and then click on “My Account Information”. Complete the application and submit it.