Associate RSD Officer – Level 2
Mission and objectives
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950, by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. In addition to 2.6 million of internally displaced persons, mainly, living in south/central Somalia, as of 31 August 2021, Somalia is hosting 27,184 refugees and asylum seekers in need of a durable solution. The active refugee population in Somaliland is approx. 14,000 refugees and asylum seekers as of 31 August 2021. Most of the refugees live in urban centres in Somaliland and Puntland. The majority of refugees and asylum-seekers originate from Ethiopia mainly from Oromo ethnicity while the rest are from different nationalities such as Eritrea, Yemen, Syria, and other nationalities.
The Protection Unit in Sub Office Galkayo, Puntland is headed by a Protection Officer and provides operational support, policy guidance and advice to the field throughout Puntland. In addition, the Unit maintains close cooperation with other Units in UNHCR Mogadishu, works together with Executive office and Programme in design, review and implementation of projects, as well as participates in protection meetings within the Protection Cluster and other partners, representing UNHCR Puntland position and strategy regarding protection of Agency’s persons of concern (PoCs). The Associate RSD Officer is a member of the Protection Unit with specific responsibilities related to Refugee Status Determination procedures (RSD). As of 30 September 2023, Puntland hosts approximately 13,247 refugees and asylum seekers, primarily from Ethiopia, Yemen, Syria and other nationalities. Access to asylum is generally respected in Puntland. Yemenis and Syrians in Puntland are accorded refugee status on prima facie basis while all other nationalities (Ethiopian and Eritreans) are required to undergo individual RSD. Puntland authorities recognize refugee status accorded by UNHCR, which conducts mandate RSD – First Instance and Appeals. There is a significant number of asylum seekers in Puntland that are pending mandate RSD and the existing operational staffing capacity to clear current backlog is extremely limited. This backlog has an impact on the resource allocation for the program given that asylum seekers constitute 50% of the population and most vulnerable asylum seekers receive cash assistance. As per the UNHCR Somalia 2020-2022 Multi-Year Multi Partner Protection and Solutions Strategy and 2020 RSD Backlog Reduction Strategy, those in need of RSD to achieve solutions and protection benefits will be prioritized for RSD processing based on clearly defined prioritization criteria. The rationale for this approach is: if an individual is identified and prioritized for RSD and subsequently recognized as a refugee but ultimately is not able to access any protection/solution dividend from his/her refugee status, then no protection value has been created and UNHCR’s very scarce RSD resources have not been used efficiently. The Somalia RSD strategy is based on extensive technical consultations with all offices (field and Representation Office) and supported by the UNHCR EHAGL Bureau and HQ. Given the preceding rationale, identification, and RSD processing of those most in need of an RSD decision from a rights-based/solutions-oriented perspective is strategically prioritized. The new RSD strategy will be implemented across the continuum of reception, registration, documentation, continuous registration, field/protection activities (direct implementation or by implementing partners), Resettlement/ Complementary pathways, CBP, CP, SGBV, education and livelihoods. Non-RSD protection staff in various roles and at various levels of seniority will be trained to improve their understanding of the prioritization criteria stipulated therein.
Strategic Direction and Coordination: •Stay abreast of legal, political, security and other developments which impact on the protection environment, and in particular, on protection delivery through RSD. •Assist in the development of the RSD strategy of the operation and in the annual planning exercise. •Contribute to the development and enhancement of regional and global RSD standards and policies. Response and Advice: •Review RSD decisions and provide appropriate feedback and guidance to RSD staff. •Conduct RSD interviews and draft RSD Assessments in accordance with applicable standards and guidelines. •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 designing, implementing and revising, as required, operation-specific SOPs for all aspects of the RSD operation in accordance with applicable standards and policies. •Systematically apply an age, gender and diversity (AGD) perspective in the performance of assigned functions. •Assist in monitoring RSD trends and in compiling and analyzing 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. Advocacy, Information Management and Research: •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 and standards accessible to RSD staff in the operation. •Ensure that persons of concern, Government authorities and legal partners have accurate information on the RSD procedures, including UNHCR standards, policy and practice. •Assist in developing and maintaining processes to ensure that persons of concern, Government authorities and partners have accurate information on the RSD procedures, including UNHCR standards, policy and practice. •Assist in initiatives to advocate with and support Government authorities and legal partners to establish and strengthen fair and efficient RSD procedures and RSD decision-making. Promotion and Capacity Building: •Assess training needs of UNHCR staff engaged in RSD and related activities and provide on-going training and coaching on legal and procedural RSD issues. •Support the development and implementation of RSD training initiatives for Government authorities and legal partners. Human resources: •Assist in evaluating and projecting RSD staffing needs using the RSD Staffing Bench-marks. •Support UNHCR staff engaged in RSD and related activities and exercise effective oversight. •Assist in developing and maintaining processes to ensure that persons of concern, Govern-ment authorities and partners have accurate information on the RSD procedures, including UNHCR standards, policies and practice. •Assist in initiatives to advocate with and support Government authorities and legal partners to establish and strengthen fair and efficient RSD procedures and RSD decision-making. •Assist in evaluating and projecting RSD staffing needs using the RSD Staffing Benchmarks Promotion and Capacity Building: •Assess training needs of UNHCR staff engaged in RSD and related activities and provide on-going training and coaching on legal and procedural RSD issues. •Support the development and implementation of RSD training initiatives for Government authorities and legal partners. Human resources: •Assist in evaluating and projecting RSD staffing needs using the RSD Staffing Bench-marks. •Support UNHCR staff engaged in RSD and related activities and exercise effective oversight.
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